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VotumE VII 


VotumeE I. Greek and Roman 
Wru1am SHERWOOD Fox, Ph.D., Princeton University. 

Votume II. Eddic 
Axe. OLrik, Ph.D., University of Copenhagen. 

VotumeE III. Celtic, Slavic 

CANON Joun A. MacCuttoca, D.D., Bridge of Allan, Scotland. 
Jan MAcuwat, Ph.D., Bohemian University, Prague. 

VotumE IV. Finno-Ugric, Siberian 
Uno HoimsBerc, Ph.D., University of Finland, Helsingfors. 

VOLUME V. Semitic 
R. Campsett THompson, M.A., F.S.A., F.R.G.S., Oxford. 

VotuME VI. Indian, Iranian 

A. BERRIEDALE Keitu, D.C.L., Edinburgh University. 
ALBERT J. CaRNoy, Ph.D., University of Louvain. 

VotuME VII. Armenian, African 

Marprros ANANIKIAN, B.D., Kennedy School of Missions, Hart- 
ford, Connecticut. 
ALICE WERNER, L.L.A. (St. Andrews); School of Oriental Studies, London 

VotumME VIII. Chinese, Japanese 
Joun CALvIN FEeRcuson, Ph.D., 
(Adviser to the President of the Republic of China) 
MasaHAru ANESAKI, Litt.D., University of Tokyo. 
(Japanese Exchange Professor at Harvard University, 1913-1915) 

VOLUME IX, Oceanic 
RoLAND BurraAGE Drxon, Ph.D., Harvard University. 

VOLUME X. American (North of Mexico) 
HarTLEY Burr ALEXANDER, Ph.D., University of Nebraska. 

VotumME XI. American (Latin) 
HartiLey Burr ALEXANDER, Ph.D., University of Nebras! .. 

VotumME XII. Egyptian, Indo-Chinese 

W. Max Miter, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania. 
Sir James GrorcGeE Scort, K.C.I.E., London... 

VoLume XIII. Index 




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Illumination from an Armenian Gospel manu- 
script in the Library of the Kennedy School of 
Missions, Hartford, Connecticut. 

songen [5q20e) nsirronst 
to ‘Loodsé vbsausA or 




GEORGE FOOT MOORE, A.M., D.D., LL.D., Consurtinc Eprror 









CopyYRIGHT, 1925 

Copyrighted in Great Britain 

All rights reserved 

Printed June, 1925 





ar FORM AOM oe cee ss bm ee 0 poe di 5 
Leper a hn EG i es 7 
CuapTer I. Toe Reticious DEVELOPMENT ........ II 
Sa CAS INR a ON Se 17 
Ao PRAIA POITIERS oO i ee aoe ee 20 
LV; Meare. LINWRS eae 36 
Mi NaRAGN, THE  Eicura.Gop-) <9 *2 4th. | 42 
VI. Nature Worsuip AND Nature Mytus—lI. Sun, 
MOON, AND STARS (5 0 a ee i 47 
VII. Nature Worsnip anp Nature Mytus — II. 
5: 5 eee a ae eee Oe ira eek scree ara Pee obey 54 
VIII. Nature Worsuip anp Nature Myrus —III. 
WV AEE ee ree ae 59 
IX. Nature WorsuHip AND NATURE Myris — Iv. 
TREES, PLants AND MountTAINS ... . 62 
ms MIRRORS 3 OR ee ee ee 64 
XI. Tue Wor.p or Spirits anp Monsters 72 
XII. Cosmocony, Deatu, AND EscHATOLOGY. ... 93 
UD URURACE G6. Sb ela ae ee ge 105 
ENT gee fak ae ac Oa ge lg oe tara ate Ie 108 
CuarTer I. High Gops anp HEAVEN ..........- 123 
witic cewvete GY ORIGINS. . 2... 6s 66 5 3 8 es 14Ge 
III. Myrus or THE OriciIn oF DEATH ...... 160 
TVc. te Abcuernal Srmme .....:. . ew. 179 
V. LeGcENDs OF THE Spirrit-WoRLD ....... 195 
ee PR SE ee ee ew 213 



Cuarrer Vit7 NATURE Nivtus..) 2) 225 
VIII. Tates or DEMons anp OcRES ....... 242 

PX, tHE bittre Peorre 2 258 



ATi LORTOwe Sroniga 309 



x \V- KECENT AND IMporTEeD Myrus. . . ... -; 348 
PUREE Nee Mee ee 361 
INOTESs ARMENIAN] = oes ei 377 
BIBUIGGRAPHY, RMENIAN® 0, 6 6 se, 433 









Illumination from an Armenian Gospel Manu- 
acript ++ Coloured 00 ee i Frontispiece 
Roeiel from Bayern eh eae ee 18 
Bronze Pived of Anaiit:' 0.650. ee. 26 
Illuminations from an Armenian Gospel Manu- 
eevine ~~ Cotoured 20072 ni ee. ee. 72 
TR ce a ee eg tee ee 88 
5.) RE cr RN gla eit ou ese caer os? 89 
Wi I Ae re eee ok me 110 
Types of the Wasanye “Helot” Hunting Tribe 116 
4. The Baobab at Kisrawa * 5 25.2. 2. 124 
4.  Gallatiate at Matawan os ci te 124 
Sums Bane Ly pes 2 a ea 132 
1. A Woman of the Basuto 
2. Zulu Girls 
The Woman Who Found the Way to Mulungu — 
Colmured ie a ee 140 
The Footprints of the First Man in Ruanda. . . 146 
The Cattle-Troughs of Luganzu ........ 154 
‘Type of Zanzibar Swahili hs ee 162 
IEE se ee ee ee ee 170 
Fi aR ONG Ta A ae ae 182 
2. Giryama Shrine for the Spirits ....... 182 
The Ghost-Baby — Coloured ......... 190 
Or I ry, Peete a ee 198 
oS Va a Oke Rive ooo. boa ek ek, 206 
BPRS Virtors. Volcanoet keke ke 206 
A Bowman of the Southern Bambala.. .... . 214 
A Swahili Player on the Zomari ........ 222 








i eHeL>: 

2 Dragon-like Figure 
3 Bronze Figures 

Armenia . 



Zulu “‘Liwhenitaepoctere i as a 230 
t. Moaiaie the Ram-Oecer eS 238 
2. The “New Yom" Ceremopy.... 3. SS. 238 
Masks Used in Initiation Ceremonies... .. . 244. 
Dance oF BOR a 250 
Group of 1e0n Tyee. So es ee Se 258 
The Dwarfs with the Big Heads — Coloured 266 
Harry Kambwiri with his Wife Lucy ..... . 278 
The Story of Che Mlanda— Coloured .... . 286 
1. Bushman Idea of a Ghost:))): fy) Pa. 1k. 290 
2. The Story of the Mantis i: 2378 seceh a. 290 
1. Bwana Ahmadi .:. 25.55) Seyatmien ee. 298 
2. A Group of Akambatyert ses Sait a 298 
I he Nyanga: 2). cea Tee oe 306 
2. House Abandoned aftera Death ...... 306 
1. sacred Friction-Drum. .: 0... AGO 314 
2° New Moon Dance .<) 220 es 2 era ae 314 
View on the Calabar River.) 0s. 3162 AS 423 
Women of the Bankutu Tribe ......... 330 
Charms against. Witehcratt <..° 4. Gee AS 340 
j. Ancient Pillar at Mambrua .230.'c25.2.°.°% 348 
23 Rined House at Lams s)c ob es. 348 
Bantu: Types GasutO: si ees. eS atte 356 
1. Woman Grinding 
2. A Family Stripping Maize 
Bantu Types, Safwa Tnbes:s) iat ed ate tay 372 
cnet ew tw WES GURL UTS IETS IES EIOR, AiR co a 53 
wn OTE ORE EGE GAVE: 48a 58 
at eatin tle pie eh Ce ge ae One eae 71 




B.D., §.T.M. 




HE ancient religion of Armenia was derived from three 
main sources: National, Iranian, and Asianic. The Asi- 
anic element, including the Semitic, does not seem to have ex- 
tended beyond the objectionable but widely spread rites of a 
mother goddess. The National element came from Eastern 
Europe and must have had a common origin with the Iranian. 
But it, no doubt, represents an earlier stage of development 
than the Vedas and the Avesta. It is for the well-informed 
scholar of Indo-European religion to pronounce a judge- 
ment as to the value of the material brought together in this 
study. The lexical, folk-loristic, and literary heritage of the 
Armenians has much yet to disclose. No one can be more pain- 
fully conscious than the author of the defects of this work. 
He had to combine research with popular and connected ex- 
position, a task far above his ability. The ancient material 
was not so scanty as broken. So analogy, wherever it could be 
found within the family, was called upon to restore the nat- 
ural connections. 

Among the numerous writers on Armenian mythology, 
three names stand high: Megrdich Emin of Moscow, Prof. 
Heinrich Gelzer of Jena, and Father Leo Alishan of Venice. 
Emin laid the foundation of the scientific treatment of Arme- 
nian mythology in the middle of the nineteenth century, and 
his excellent contribution has become indispensable in this field. 
To Heinrich Gelzer, primarily a scholar of Byzantine history, 
we owe the latest modern study of the Armenian Pantheon. 
As for Alishan, he was a poet and an erudite, but had hardly 
any scientific training. So his Ancient Faith of Armenia is a 


naive production abounding in more or less inaccessible ma- 
terial of high value and in sometimes suggestive but more often 
strange speculations. Manug Abeghian will rightly claim the 
merit of having given to Armenian folk-lore a systematic form, 
while A. Aharonian’s thesis on the same subject is not devoid 
of interest. Unfortunately Stackelberg’s article, written in 
Russian, was accessible to the author only in an Armenian 
résumé. Sandalgian’s Histoire Documentaire de PArménie, 
which appeared in 1917 but came to the author’s notice only 
recently, contains important chapters on ancient Armenian 
religion and mythology. The part that interprets Urartian 
inscriptions through ancient Greek and Armenian has not met 
with general recognition among scholars. But his treatment of 
the classic and medieval material is in substantial accord with 
this book. The main divergences have been noted. 

Grateful thanks are due to the editors as well as the publish- 
ers for their forbearance with the author’s idiosyncrasies and 
limitations. Also a hearty acknowledgement must be made here 
to my revered teacher and colleague, Prof. Duncan B. Mac- 
donald of the Hartford Theological Seminary, to Prof. Lewis 
Hodous of the Kennedy School of Missions, and to Dr. John 
W. Chapman of the Case Memorial Library for many fertile 
suggestions. Prof. Macdonald, himself an ardent and able 
folk-lorist, and Prof. Hodous, a student of Chinese religions, 
carefully read this work and made many helpful suggestions. 


April 23, 1922. 

PuBLIsHER’s Notre 

The death of Professor Ananikian occurred while this vol- 
ume was in preparation. He did not see the final proofs. 


a a 

a) ae 
PS oat 

oe a 



ONG before the Armenians came to occupy the lofty pla- 
teau, south of the Caucasus, now known by their name, 
it had been the home of peoples about whom we possess only 
scanty information. It matters little for our present purpose, 
whether the older inhabitants consisted of different ethnic 
_ types, having many national names and languages, or whether 
they were a homogeneous race, speaking dialects of the same 
mother tongue and having some common name. For the 
sake of convenience we shall call them Urartians, as the As- 
syrians did. The Urartians formed a group of civilized states 
mostly centreing around the present city of Van. Although 
they left wonderful constructions and many cuneiform inscrip- 
tions, we depend largely on the Assyrian records for our in- 
formation concerning their political history. 

It would seem that the Urartians belonged to the same non- 
Aryan and non-Semitic stock of peoples as the so-called Hit- 
tites who held sway in the Western Asiatic peninsula long 
before Indo-European tribes such as Phrygians, Mysians, 
Lydians, and Bithynians came from Thrace, and Scythians and 
Cimmerians from the north of the Black Sea to claim the pen- 
insula as their future home. 

The Urartians were quite warlike and bravely held their 
own against the Assyrian ambitions until the seventh century 
B.C., when their country, weakened and disorganized through 
continual strife, fell an easy prey to the Armenian conquerors 



The coming of the Armenians into Asia Minor, according 
to the classical authorities, forms a part of the great exodus 
from Thrace. By more than one ancient and intelligent 
writer, they are declared to have been closely related to 
the Phrygians whom they resembled both in language and 
costume, and with whom they stood in Xerxes’ army, ac- 
cording to Herodotus.* Slowly moving along the southern 
shores of the Black Sea, they seem to have stopped for a while 
in what was known in antiquity as Armenia Minor, which, 
roughly speaking, lies southeast of Pontus and just north- 
east of Cappadocia. Thence they must have once more set 
out to conquer the promised land, the land of the Urartians, 
where they established themselves as a military aristocracy in 
the mountain fastnesses and the fortified cities, driving most 
of the older inhabitants northward, reducing the remainder to 
serfdom, taxing them heavily, employing them in their in- 
ternal and external wars, and gradually but quite effectively 
imposing upon them their own name, language, religion, and 
cruder civilization. It is very natural that such a relation 
should culminate in a certain amount of fusion between the 
two races. This is what took place, but the slow process be- 
came complete only in the middle ages when the Turkish 
(Seljuk) conquest of the country created a terrible chaos in the 
social order. 

Very soon after the Armenian conquest of Urartu, even be- 
fore the new lords could organize and consolidate the land into 
anything like a monarchy, Armenia was conquered by Cyrus 
(558-529 B.c.), then by Darius (524-485 s.c.). After the 
meteoric sweep of Alexander the Great through the eastern 
sky, it passed into Macedonian hands. But in 190 B.c., under 
Antiochus the Great, two native satraps shook off the Seleucid 
yoke. One of them was Artaxias, who with the help of the 
fugitive Hannibal, planned and built Artaxata, on the Araxes, 
as his capital. Under the dynasty of this king, who became a 


legendary hero, the country prospered for a while and attained 
with Tigranes the Great (94-54 B.c.) an ephemeral greatness 
without precedent until then and without any parallel ever 
since. In 66 a.p. a branch of the Parthian (Arsacid) Dynasty 
was established in Armenia under the suzerainty and protec- 
tion of Rome. The first king of this house was Tiridates I, 
formerly the head of the Magi of his country, who may have 
done much in Armenia for the establishment of Zoroastrianism. 
It was under Tiridates II, a scion of this royal house, that, 
in the beginning of the fourth century of our era, Christianity, 
long present in the country, and often persecuted, achieved its 
fuller conquest. 

sud 25> When 



HE URARTIANS believed in a supreme being, the god 

of heaven, whose name was Khaldi. If not the whole, 

at least a large part of the population called itself Khaldian, 
a name which survived the final downfall of the Urartian-8fate 
in a province situated northwest of Armenia where evidently 
the old inhabitants were driven by the Armenian conquerors. 
In their ancient non-Aryan pantheon, alongside of Khaldi stood 
Theispas, a weather-god or thunderer of a very wide repute 
in Western Asia, and Artinis, the sun-god. These three male 
deities came to form a triad, under Babylonian influence. From 
the fact that in one Babylonian triad composed of Sin (the 
moon), Shamas (the sun) and Ramman (a weather-god), 
Sin is the lord of the heavens, scholars have concluded that 
Khaldi may have been also (or become) a moon-god. 
Whether this be the case or not, the Urartian pantheon contains 
a secondary moon-god called Shelartish. Besides these no less 
than forty-six secondary, mostly local, deities are named 
in an official (sacrificial?) list. The original Khaldian pan- 
theon knew no female deity. Thus it stands in glaring contrast 
with Asianic (Anatolian) religions in which the mother goddess 
occupies a supreme position. But in the course of time, Ishtar 
of Babylon, with her singularly pervasive and migratory char- 
acter, found her way into Urartu, under the name of Sharis.* 
One may safely assume that at least in the later stage of its 
political existence, long before the arrival of the Armenians 


on the scene, Urartu had made some acquaintance with the 
Indo-Iranians and their Aryan manners and beliefs. For 
the Medes had begun their national career long before 935 
B.c., and a little later the Scythians had established themselves 
in Manna, an Eastern dependency of Urartu.’ 

As an undeniable evidence of such influences we may point 
to the fact that in Manna, Khaldi had become identified with 
Bag-Mashtu (Bag-Mazda) a sky-god and probably an older 
form of the Iranian Ahura Mazda. 

It is in the midst of such a religion and civilization that the 
Armenians came to live. Their respect for it is attested by the 
fact that the ancient Urartian capital, Thuspa (the present 
Van), was spared, and that another (later) capital, Armavira 
in the North, became a sacred city for them, where according 
to the national legend even royal princes engaged in the art of 
divination through the rustling leaves of the sacred poplar 
(Armen. Saus). On the other hand the vestiges of Armenian 
paganism conclusively show that the newcomers lent to the 
Urartians infinitely more than they borrowed from them. 

The Thracians and Phrygians, with whom the Armenians 
were related, had in later times a crude but mystic faith and 
a simple pantheon. 

Ramsay, in his article on the Phrygians * assumes that the 
chief deity whom the Thracian influx brought into Asia- 
Minor was male, and as the native religion was gradually 
adopted by the conquerors, this god associated himself with, 
and usurped certain functions of, the Asianic goddess. At all 
events the Phrygians, who had a sky-god called Bagos Papaios, 
must have had also an earth-goddess Semele (Persian Zamin) 
who no doubt became identified with some phase of the native 
goddess (Kybele, Ma, etc.). The confusion of the earth- 
goddess with the moon seems to have been a common phenome- 
non in the nearer East. Dionysos or Sabazios represented the 
principle of fertility of nature, without any marked reference 


to the human race. He wasa god of moisture and vegetation. 
The corn that sustains life, and the wine and beer that gladden 
the heart, were his gifts. These things sprang from the 
bosom of mother earth, through his mysterious influence, for 
the earth and he were lovers. 

Further the Thracians and Phrygians at the winter solstice, 
held wild orgies (Bacchanalia), when naked women, wrought 
into frenzy by music and dance, and driven by priests, wan- 
dered in bands through fields and forests, shouting the name 
of the deity or a part of it (like Saboi), and by every bar- 
barous means endeavouring to awaken the dead god into repro- 
ductive activity.* He was imagined as passing rapidly through 
the stages of childhood, adolescence and youth. And as he was 
held to be incarnate in a bull, a buck, a man, or even in an in- 
fant, the festival reached its climax in the devouring of warm 
and bloody flesh just torn from a live bull, goat, or a priest. 
Sabazios under the name of Zagreus was thus being cut to 
pieces and consumed by his devotees. In this sacramental 
meal, the god no doubt became incarnate in his votaries and 
blessed the land with fertility.® 

We have no clear traces of such repulsive rites in what 
has been handed down to us from the old religion of the Ar- 
menians in spite of their proverbial piety. Whatever they 
have preserved seems to belong to another stratum of the 
Phrygo-Thracian faith.° 

A careful examination of this ancient material shows among 
the earliest Armenians a religious and mythological develop- 
ment parallel to that observed among other Indo-European 
peoples, especially the Satem branch of the race. 

Their language contains an important fund of Indo- 
European religious words such as Tiu (Dyafis= Zeus = 
Tiwaz), “ day-light,” and Di-kh (pl. of Di, i.e. Deiva = Deus, 
etc.), “ the gods.” When the ancient Armenians shouted, “ Ti 
(or Tir), forward,” they must have meant this ancient Dyatis 


Pitar who was also a war-god, and not Tiur, their much later 
very learned but peaceful scribe of the gods. Even the name 
of Varuna appears among them in the form of Vran (a cog- 
nate of ovpavds) and in the sense of “tent,” “covering.” 
It is not impossible that astwads, their other word for “ God,” 
which in Christian times supplanted the heathen Dj-kh, 
“ Gods,” was originally an epithet of the father of the gods 
and men, just like the Zstwo of Teutonic mythology, of which 
it may well be a cognate.’ 

The Perkunas of the Lithuanians and the Teutonic Fjér- 
gynn, one as a god of heaven and of weather, and the other 
as a goddess of the earth, are still preserved in the Armenian 
words erkin, “heaven,” and erkir (erkinr?) “earth.” ® 
The word and goddess, idrd, erd, “earth,” seems to survive in 
the Armenian ard, “ land,” “ field.” 

Another ancient Armenian word for Mother-earth is 
probably to be found in armat, which now means “ root.” 
But in its adjectival form armti-kh, “cereals,” it betrays a 
more original meaning which may shed some light upon the 
much disputed Vedic aramati and Avestic armaiti. The 
word hodm, “wind,” may have originally meant “ sky,” as 
cognate of Himmel. ‘The Vedic and Avestic vata (Teut. 
Votan?) is represented in Armenian by aud, “air,” “ weather,” 
“wind,” while Vayu himself seems to be represented by more 
than one mythological name. Even the Vedic Aryaman and 
the Teutonic /rmin may probably be recognized in the name of 
Armenak, the better-known eponymous hero of the Armenians, 
who thus becomes identical with the ancient Dyats-Tiwaz. To 
these may be added others whom we shall meet later. And in 
the Vahagn myths we see how, as in India and Teutonic lands, 
a violent storm-god has supplanted the grander figure of the 

The oak (which in Europe was sacred to the sky-god) and 
water played an important part in the Armenian rites of the 


sacred fire. The sacred fire was, as in Europe, often extin- 
guished in water. This religion was quite agricultural. In 
view of the general agreement of the Slavic and old Armenian 
data on this point, one may well ask whether the Thraco- 
Phrygian mysteries just described were not a localized 
development of the lightning worship so characteristic of the 
Slavic family to which the Thraco-Phrygians and the Arme- 
nians probably belonged.’ In fact, according to Tomaschek *° 
the lightning-god had a very prominent place in the Thracian 
religion. | 

Lightning worship, more or less confused with the worship 
of a storm-god, was widely spread through Indo-European 
cults, and it is attested in the Thracian family not only by 
the name of Hyagnis, a Phrygian satyr (see chapter on 
Vahagn) and Sbel Thidurdos, but also by the title of “ Bull ” 
that belonged to Dionysos and by such Greek myths as make 
him wield the lightning for a short time in the place of Zeus.” 

Soon after their coming into Urartu the Armenians fell 
under very strong Iranian influences, both in their social and 
their religious life. Now began that incessant flow of Iranian 
words into their language, a fact which tempted the philol- 
ogists of a former generation to consider Armenian a branch 
of Iranian. When Xenophon met the Armenians on his fa- 
mous retreat, Persian was understood by them, and they were 
sacrificing horses to the sun (or, perhaps to Mithra). But 
we find in the remnants of Armenian paganism no religious 
literature and no systematic theology, or cult of a purely Zoro- 
astrian type. It would seem that the reformed faith of Iran 
penetrated Armenia very slowly and as a formless mass of 
popular beliefs which sometimes entered into mésalliances in 
their new home.” In fact the names of the Zoroastrian gods 
and spirits found in Armenia bear a post-classic and pre- 
Sassanian stamp. 

Finally the contact with Syria and with Hellenistic culture 


in Macedonian times and especially under Tigranes the Great 
(95-54 B.c.), brought into the religion of the country a new 
element. Statues of Syrian and Greek gods and goddesses 
were acquired in some way or other and set up in Armenian 
temples. Thus a small group of Semitic deities came into the 
Armenian pantheon, and interesting comparisons were estab- 
lished between the Armenian deities and the Olympians. 
Evidently under the influence of the Greek West and the 
Syrian South, the Armenians of the upper classes found the 
number of their gods inadequate and set themselves to create a 
pantheon of an impressive size. It was a time of conciliations, 
identifications, one might say of vandalistic syncretism that 
was tending to make of Armenian religion an outlandish 
motley. Their only excuse was that all their neighbours 
were following a similar course. It is, therefore, no wonder 
that the Sassanians during their short possession of Armenia 
in the middle of the third century seriously undertook to 
convert the land to the purer worship of the sacred fire. How- 
ever, all was not lost in those days of syncretism and con- 
fusion. Most of the ancient traits can be easily recovered, 
while the tenacious conservatism of the common people saved 
a great amount of old and almost unadulterated material. 
This is, in short, both the historical development and the back- 
ground of Armenian mythology. We should expect to find 
in it Urartian, Semitic, Armenian, Iranian, and Greek ele- 
ments. But as a matter of fact the Urartian faith seems to 
have merged in the Armenian, while the Greek could only 
touch the surface of things, and the Semitic did not reach very 
far in its invasion. Therefore Armenian paganism, as it has 
come down to us, is mainly a conglomerate of native and Ira- 

nian elements. : 


TRABO, the celebrated Greek traveller of the first century 

of our era, in his notice of the Anahit worship at Erez 

(or Eriza), says that “ both the Medes and the Armenians 

honour all things sacred to the Persians, but above everything 
Armenians honour Anahit.” 

An official (or priestly) reorganization of the national 
pantheon must have been attempted about the beginning of 
the Christian era. Agathangelos tells us plainly that King 
Khosrau, on his return from successful incursions into Sas- 
sanian lands, “ commanded to seek the seven great altars of 
Armenia, and honoured (with all sorts of sacrifices and 
ritual pomp) the sanctuaries of his ancestors, the Arsacids.” 
These sanctuaries were the principal temples of the seven 
chief deities whose names are: Aramazd, Anahit, Tiur, Mihr, 
Baal-Shamin (pronounced by the Armenians Barshamina), 
Nane, and Astyik. It is possible that these gods and god- 
desses were all patrons (genii) of the seven planets.” If 
so, then Aramazd was probably the lord of Jupiter, Tiur 
corresponded to Mercury, Baal-Shamin or Mihr to the sun, 
Astik to Venus, now called Arusyak, “the little bride.” The 
moon may have been adjudged to Anahit or Nane.’ To these 
seven state deities, was soon added the worship of the very 
popular Vahagn, as the eighth, but he was in reality a native 
rival of Baal-Shamin and Mihr. We may add that there was 
a widely spread worship of the sun, moon, and stars as such, 
and perhaps a certain recognition of Spentaramet and Zatik. 


Armenia enjoyed also its full share of nature worship ex- 
pressed in veneration for mountains, rivers, springs, trees, etc. 
Of the main deities Aramazd was the most powerful and 
Anahit the most popular; with Vahagn they formed a triad. 
This pre-eminence of the three gods forced the rest of the 
pantheon into the less enviable position of secondary deities. 

‘We know very little of the cultus of ancient Armenia, but 
we may perhaps say in general that it was not as much of a 
mixture as the pantheon. 

We have two Armenian words for “temple,” Mehyan, 
probably derived from Mithra-Mihr, and Tajar, which also 
meant a dining-hall. The plural of Bagin, “altar,” also 
meant “temple” or “temples.” Temples contained large 
treasures, and exercised hospitality towards all comers. 

Agathangelos * describes the sacrifices of Chosroés after his 
return from victorious incursions in these words: 

‘He commanded to seek the seven great altars of Armenia, and he 
honoured the sanctuaries of his ancestors, the Arsacids, with white 
bullocks, white rams, white horses and mules, with gold and silver 
ornaments and gold embroidered and fringed silken coverings, with 
golden wreaths, silver sacrificial basins, desirable vases set with pre- 
cious stones, splendid garments, and beautiful ornaments. Also he 
gave a fifth of his booty and great presents to the priests.’ 

In Bayazid (the ancient Bagravand) an old Armenian re- 
lief was found with an altar upon which a strange animal 
stands, and on each side a man clothed in a long tunic. One 
is beardless, and carries a heavy club. The other has a beard. 
Their head-gear, Phrygian in character, differs in detail. 
Both have their hands raised in the attitude of worship.* 

Probably the word for sacrifice was spand (Lithu. sventa, 
Persian spenta “holy,” Gr. oré&vdw “to pour a libation ”); 
the place of sacrifice was called Spandaran, “ the place of holy 
things ”; and the priestly family that exercised supervision over 
the sacrificial rites was known as the Spandunis. ‘They. held 

oe hd 


Relief found in Bayarid. A priestess (?) and a 
priest with the Phrygian hood, in the act of worship 
and of offering a lamb as a sacrifice. The tail of 
the animal indicates a variety now extinct. ‘The 
figure of the deity seems to have disappeared. From 
Alishan’s Ancient Faith of Armemia. 




4 . Wh 

say ae 
oe amen e 

fe bige es '. 


a high rank among the Armenian nobility.” Even to-day 
Spandanotz means “a slaughterhouse ” and Spananel, “to 
slay.’ No other Armenian word has come down to us in 
the sense of “ priest,” seeing that Kurm is of Syriac or Asianic 
origin. Besides the Spandunis there were also the Vahunis 
attached to the temples of Vahagn, probably as priests. The 
Vahunis also were among the noble families. 

The priesthood was held in such high esteem that Armenian 
kings often set up one or more of their sons as priests in cele- 
brated temples. The burial place for priests of importance 
seems to have been Bagavan (“the town of the gods”). 
Whatever learning the country could boast was mainly in the 
possession of the sacerdotal classes. 


HOEVER was the chief deity of the Armenians when 

they conquered Urartu, in later times that important 
position was occupied by Aramazd. Aramazd is an Armenian 
corruption of the Auramazda of the old Persian inscriptions. 
His once widely spread cult is one of our strongest proofs 
that at least a crude and imperfect form of Zoroastrianism 
existed in Armenia. Yet this Armenian deity is by no means 
an exact duplicate of his Persian namesake. He possesses 
some attributes that remind us of an older sky-god. 

Unlike the Ahura-Mazda of Zoroaster, he was supreme, 
without being exclusive. There were other gods beside him, 
come from everywhere and anywhere, of whom he was the 
father." Anahit, Nane and Mihr were regarded as his chil- 
dren in a peculiar sense.” Although some fathers of the 
Greek Church in the fourth century were willing to consider 
Armenian paganism as a remarkable approach to Christian 
monotheism, it must be confessed that this was rather glory 
reflected from Zoroastrianism, and that the supremacy of Ar- 
amazd seems never to have risen in Armenia to a monotheism 
that could degrade other gods and goddesses into mere angels 
(Ameshas and Yazatas). Aramazd is represented as the cre- 
ator of heaven and earth by Agathangelos in the same manner 
as by Xerxes who says in one of his inscriptions: ‘ Auramazda 
is a great god, greater than all gods, who has created this 
heaven and this earth.” The Armenian Aramazd was called 
“ great” * and he must have been supreme in wisdom (Arm. 


imastun, 2 cognate of mazdao) but he was most often char- 
acterised as ari, “ manly,” “ brave,” which is a good Armenian 
reminiscence of “ Arya.” * 

He seems to have been of a benign and peaceloving dis- 

position, like his people, for whom wisdom usually conveys 
the idea of an inoffensive goodness. As far as we know he 
never figures as a warlike god, nor is his antagonism against 
the principle of evil as marked as that of the Avestic Ahura- 
Mazda. Nevertheless he no doubt stood and fought for the 
right (Armen. ardar, “ righteous,” Iran., arda, Sansk. rita). 
. Aramazd was above all the giver of prosperity and more 
especially of “abundance and fatness” in the land. Herein 
his ancient character of a sky-god comes into prominence. 
Amenaber, “bringer of all (good) things,” was a beloved title 
of his.” He made the fields fertile and the gardens and the 
vineyards fruitful, no doubt through rain. The idea of an 
Earth goddess had become dim in the Armenian mind. But 
it is extremely possible that in this connection, something like 
the Thracian or Phrygian belief in Dionysos lingered among 
the people in connection with Aramazd, for, besides his avowed 
interest in the fertility of the country, his name was some- 
times used to translate that of the Greek Dionysos.° Yet 
even the Persian Ahura-mazda had something to do with the 
plants (Ys. xliv. 4), and as Prof. Jackson says, he was a 
“ senerous” spirit. 

It was in virtue of his being the source of all abundance 
that Aramazd presided at the Navasard (New Year’s) fes- 
tivals. These, according to the later (eleventh century) calen- 
dar, came towards the end of the summer and, beginning with 
the eleventh of August (Julian calendar), lasted six days, but 
originally the Armenian Navasard was, like its Persian proto- 
type, celebrated in the early spring.’ In spite of the fact that 
al-Biruni, according to the later Persian (Semitic?) view, 
makes this a festival commemorating the creation of the world, 


one may be reasonably sure that both in Armenia and in Persia, 
it was an agricultural celebration connected with commemo- 
ration of the dead (see also chapter on Shahapet) and aiming 
at the increase of the rain and the harvests. In fact al-Biruni * 
informs us that in Navasard the Persians sowed “around a 
plate seven kinds of grain in seven columns and from their 
growth they drew conclusions regarding the corn of that 
year.” ° Also they poured water upon themselves and others, 
a custom which still prevails among Armenians at the spring 
sowing and at the festival of the Transfiguration in June.” 
This was originally an act of sympathetic magic to insure rain. 
Navasard’s connection with Fravarti (Armen. Hrotik), the 
month consecrated to the ancestral souls in Persia and perhaps 
also in Armenia, is very significant, for these souls are in the old 
Aryan religion specially interested in the fertility of the land. 

The later (Christian) Navasard in August found the second 
crop of wheat on the threshing floor or safely garnered, 
the trees laden with mellowing fruit and the vintage in prog- 
ress." In many localities the Navasard took the character 
of a féte champétre celebrated near the sanctuaries, to which 
the country people flocked with their sacrifices and gifts, their 
rude music and rustic dances. But it was also observed in the 
towns and great cities where the more famous temples of Ar- 
amazd attracted great throngs of pilgrims. A special men- 
tion of this festival is made by Moses (II, 66) in connection 
with Bagavan, the town of the gods. Gregory Magistros 
(eleventh century) says that King Artaxias (190 B.c.) on his 
death-bed, longing for the smoke streaming upward from the 
chimneys and floating over the villages and towns on the New 
Year’s morning, sighed: 
“O! would that I might see the smoke of the chimneys, 

And the morning of the New Year’s day, 

The running of the oxen and the coursing of the deer! 

(Then) we blew the horn and beat the drum as it beseemeth 


This fragment recalls the broken sentence with which al- 
Biruni’s chapter on the Nauroz (Navasard) begins: “ And he 
divided the cup among his companions and said, ‘O that we 
had Nauroz every day!?”” 

On these joyful days, Aramazd, the supremely generous 
and hospitable lord of Armenia, became more generous and 
hospitable.** No doubt the flesh of sacrifices offered to him. 
was freely distributed among the poor, and the wayworn 
traveller always found a ready welcome at the table of the 
rejoicing pilgrims. The temples themselves must have been 
amply provided with rooms for the entertainment of strangers. 
It was really Aramazd-Dionysos that entertained them with 
his gifts of corn and wine. 

Through the introduction of the Julian calendar the Arme- 
nians lost their Navasard celebrations. But they still preserve 
the memory of them, by consuming and distributing large 
quantities of dry fruit on the first of January, just as the 
Persians celebrated Nauroz, by distributing sugar.” 

No information has reached us about the birth or parentage 
of the Armenian Aramazd. His name appears sometimes 
as Ormizd in its adjectival form. But we do not hear that 
he was in any way connected with the later Magian speculation 
about Auramazda, which (perhaps under Hellenistic influ- 
ences) made him a son of the limitless time (Zervana Akarana) 
and a twin brother of Ahriman. Moreover, Aramazd was a 
bachelor god. No jealous Hera stood at his side as his wedded 
wife, to vex him with endless persecutions. Not even Spenta- 
Armaiti (the genius of the earth), or archangels, and angels, 
some of whom figure both as daughters and consorts of Ahura- 
mazda in the extant Avesta (Ys. 454 etc.), appear in such an 
intimate connection with this Armenian chief deity. Once only 
in a martyrological writing of the middle ages Anahit is called 
his wife.”° Yet this view finds no support in ancient authorities, 
though it is perfectly possible on @ priori grounds. 


Our uncertainty in this matter leaves us no alternative but 
to speculate vaguely as to how Aramazd brought about the 
existence of gods who are affiliated to him. Did he beget 
or create them? Here the chain of the myth is broken or left 

Aramazd must have had many sanctuaries in the country, 
for Armenian paganism was not the templeless religion which 
Magian Zoroastrianism attempted to become. The most 
highly honored of these was in Ani, a fortified and sacred city 
(perhaps the capital of the early Armenians) in the district of 
Daranali, near the present Erzinjan. It contained the tombs 
and mausolea of the Armenian kings,’* who, as Gelzer sug- 
gests, slept under the peaceful shadow of the deity. Here 
stood in later times a Greek statue of Zeus, brought from the 
West with other famous images.’ It was served by a large 
number of priests, some of whom were of royal descent.” 
This sanctuary and famous statue were destroyed by Gregory 
the Illuminator during his campaign against the pagan temples. 

Another temple or altar of Aramazd was found in Bagavan 
(town of the gods) in the district of Bagrevand,” and still 
another on Mount Palat or Pashat along with the temple of 
AstX\ik. Moses of Khoren incidentally remarks * that there 
are four kinds of Aramazd, one of which is Kund (“bald ”)* 
Aramazd. These could not have been four distinct deities, 
but rather four local conceptions of the same deity, repre- 
sented by characteristic statues.” 


After Aramazd, Anahit was the most important deity of 
Armenia. In the pantheon she stood immediately next to 
the father of the gods, but in the heart of the people she was 
supreme. She was “the glory,” “the great queen or lady,” 
“the one born of gold,” “the golden-mother.” 


Anahit is the Ardvi Sura Anahita of the Avesta, whose name, 
if at all Iranian, would mean “moist, mighty, undefiled,” 
a puzzling but not altogether unbefitting appellation for the 
yazata of the earth-born springs and rivers. But there is a 
marked and well-justified tendency to consider the Persian 
Anahita herself an importation from Babylonia. She is 
thought to be Ishtar under the name of Anatu or the Elamite 
“ Nahunta.” If so, then whatever her popular character may 
have been, she could not find a place in the Avesta without be- 
ing divested of her objectionable traits or predilections. And 
this is really what happened. But even in the Avestic portrai- 
ture of her it is easy to distinguish the original. This Zoroas- 
trian golden goddess of the springs and rivers with the high, 
pomegranate-like breasts had a special relation to the fecundity 
of the human race. She was interested in child-birth and nur- 
ture, like Ishtar, under whose protection children were placed 
with incantation and solemn rites. Persian maids prayed to her 
for brave and robust husbands. Wherever she went with the 
Persian armies and culture in Western Asia, Armenia, Pontus, 
Cappadocia, Phrygia, etc., her sovereignty over springs and 
rivers was disregarded and she was at once identified with 
some goddess of love and motherhood, usually with Ma or the 
Mater Magna. It would, therefore, be very reasonable to sup- 
pose that there was a popular Anahita in Persia itself, who 
was nothing less than Ishtar as we know her. This is further 
confirmed by the fact that to this day the planet Venus is called 
Nahid by the Persians.” 

The Armenian Anahit is also Asianic in character. She does 
not seem to be stepping out of the pages of the Avesta as a 
pure and idealized figure, but rather she came there from the 
heart of the common people of Persia, or Parthia, and must 
have found some native goddess whose attributes and ancient 
sanctuaries she assimilated. She has hardly anything to do 
with springs and rivers. She is simply a woman, the fair 


daughter of Aramazd, a sister of the Persian Mihr and of the 
cosmopolitan Nane. As in the Anahit Yashts of the Avesta, 
so also in Armenia, “ golden ” is her fairest epithet. She was 
often called “born in gold ” or “the golden mother ” prob- 
ably because usually her statue was of solid gold. 

In the light of what has just been said we are not surprised 
to find that this goddess exhibited two distinct types of woman- 
hood in Armenia, according to our extant sources. Most of 
the early Christian writers, specially Agathangelos, who would 
have eagerly seized upon anything derogatory to her good 
name, report nothing about her depraved tastes or unchaste 

If not as a bit of subtle sarcasm, then at least as an echo of 
the old pagan language, King Tiridates is made to call her 
“the mother of all sobriety,” i.e. orderliness, as over against a 
lewd and ribald mode of life.** The whole expression may also 
be taken as meaning “the sober, chaste mother.” No sugges- 
tion of impure rites is to be found in Agathangelos or Moses in 
connection with her cultus. 

On the other hand no less an authority than the geographer 
Strabo (63 B.c.-25A.D.) reports that the great sanctuary of 
Anahit at Erez (or Eriza), in Akilisene (a district called also 
Anahitian ** owing to the widely spread fame of this temple) 
was the centre of an obscene form of worship. Here there 
were hierodules of both sexes, and what is more, here daugh- 
ters of the noble families gave themselves up to prostitu- 
tion for a considerable time, before they were married. Nor 
was this an obstacle to their being afterwards sought in 

Strabo is not alone in representing Anahit in this particularly 
sad light. She was identified with the Ephesian Artemis by 
the Armenians themselves. Faustus of Byzantium, writing in 
the fifth century, says of the imperfectly Christianized Arme- 
_nians of the preceding century, that they continued “in secret 

es me “ 
r, ake 

pets 14 

< ie did rd 



Bronze Head of Anahit, a Greek work (probably 
Aphrodite) found at Satala, worshipped by the Ar- 
menians, now in the British Museum. 

Fe hE owe silisscssuatoninsateanapaiiitaenanensbaaa tsi . onconsnapemmetinenetenetrescorertasen woe . 7 . eameinireaes meen 


the worship of the old deities in the form of fornication.” ”” 

The reference is most probably to the rites of the more popu- 
lar Anahit rather than her southern rival, AstX\ik, whom the 
learned identified with Aphrodite, and about whose worship 
no unchastity is mentioned. Medieval authors of Armenia 
also assert similar things about Anahit. Vanakan Vardapet 
says, “¢ Astarte is the shame of the Sidonians, which the Chal- 
deans (Syrians or Mesopotamians) called Kaukabhta, the 
Greeks, Aphrodite, and the Armenians, Anahit.” ** 

In a letter to Sahag Ardsruni, ascribed to Moses of Khoren,” 
we read that in the district of Antzevatz there was a famous 
Stone of the Blacksmiths. Here stood a statue of Anahit and 
here the blacksmiths (no doubt invisible ones) made a dread- 
ful din with their hammers and anvils. The devils (i.e. 
idols) dispensed out of a melting pot bundles of false medi- 
cine which served the fulfilling of evil desires, “like the 
bundle of St. Cyprian intended for the destruction of the Vir- 
gin Justina.” *° This place was changed later into a sanctuary 
of the Holy Virgin and a convent for nuns, called Hogeatz 

There can be no doubt, therefore, that the Armenian Anahit 
admitted of the orgiastic worship that in the ancient orient 
characterized the gods and especially the goddesses of fertility. 
No doubt these obscene practices were supposed to secure her 
favor. On the other hand it is quite possible that she played 
in married life the well-known réle of a mother of sobriety 
like Hera or rather Ishtar,” the veiled bride and protector of 
wedlock, jealously watching over the love and faith plighted 
between husband and wife, and blessing their union. We may 
therefore interpret in this sense the above mentioned descrip- 
tion of this goddess, which Agathangelos *’ puts in the mouth 
of King Tiridates: “ The great lady (or queen) Anahit, who is 
the glory and Jife-giver of our nation, whom all kings honour, 
especially the King of the Greeks (sic! ), who is the mother of 


all sobriety, and a benefactress (through many favours, but 
especially through the granting of children) of all mankind; 
through whom Armenia lives and maintains her life.” Al- 
though clear-cut distinctions and schematic arrangements are 
not safe in such instances, one may say in general that Ara- 
mazd once created nature and man, but he now (speaking from 
the standpoint of a speculative Armenian pagan of the first 
century) sustains life by giving in abundance the corn and 
the wine. Anahit, who also may have some interest in the 
growth of vegetation, gives more especially young ones to ani- 
mals and children to man, whom she maternally tends in their 
early age as well as in their strong manhood. Aramazd is the 
god of the fertility of the earth, Anahit the goddess of the 
fecundity of the nation. . 

However, as she was deeply human, the birth and care of 
children could not be her sole concern. As a merciful and 
mighty mother she was sought in cases of severe illness and 
perhaps in other kinds of distress. Agathangelos mentions the 
care with which she tends the people. In Moses * we find that 
King Artaxias, in his last sickness, sent a nobleman to Erez to 
propitiate the tender-hearted goddess. But unlike Ishtar and 
the Persian Anahita, the Armenian Anahit shows no war-like 
propensities, nor is her name associated with death. 

Like Aramazd, she had many temples in Armenia, but the 
most noted ones were those of Erez, Artaxata, Ashtishat, and 
Armavir.** There was also in Sophene a mountain called the 
Throne of Anahit,*® and a statue of Anahit at the stone of the 
Blacksmiths. The temple at Erez was undoubtedly the rich- 
est sanctuary in the country and a favorite centre of pilgrim- 
age. It was taken and razed to the ground by Gregory the 
Illuminator.** It was for the safety of its treasures that the 
natives feared when Lucullus entered the Anahitian province.” 

Anahit had two annual festivals, one of which was held, 
according to Alishan, on the 15th of Navasard, very soon after 


the New Year’s celebration. Also the nineteenth day of every 
month was consecrated to her. A regular pilgrimage to her 
temple required the sacrifice of a heifer, a visit to the river 
Lykos near-by, and a feast, after which the statue of the god- 
dess was crowned with wreaths.** Lucullus saw herds of heifers 
of the goddess,** with her mark, which was a torch, wander up 
and down grazing on the meadows near the Euphrates, without 
being disturbed by anyone. The Anahit of the countries west 
of Armenia bore a crescent on her head. 

We have already seen that the statues representing Anahit 
in the main sanctuaries, namely in Erez, Ashtishat, and prob- 
ably also in Artaxata, were solid gold. According to 
Pliny * who describes the one at Erez, this was an unprece- 
dented thing in antiquity. Not under Lucullus, but under 
Antonius did the Roman soldiers plunder this famous statue. 
A Bononian veteran who was once entertaining Augustus in a 
sumptuous style, declared that the Emperor was dining off the 
leg of the goddess and that he had been the first assailant of the 
famous statue, a sacrilege which he had committed with im- 
punity in spite of the rumours to the contrary.** This statue 
may have been identical with the (Ephesian) Artemis which, 
according to Moses,” was brought to Erez from the west. 


Outside of Artaxata, the ancient capital of Armenia (on the 
Araxes), and close upon the road to Valarshapat (the winter 
capital), was the best known temple of Tiur. The place was 
called Erazamuyn (Greek ‘oveposovcos), which probably 
means “interpreter of dreams.” ** Tiur had also another 
temple in the sacred city of Armavir.“* 

He was no less a personage than the scribe of Aramazd, 
which may mean that in the lofty abode of the gods, he kept 
record of the good and evil deeds of men for a future day of 


reckoning, or what is more probable on comparative grounds, 
he had charge of writing down the decrees (Araman, Pers. 
firman) that were issued by Aramazd concerning the events of 
each human life.*° These decrees were no doubt recorded not 
only on heavenly tablets but also on the forehead of every 
child of man that was born. The latter were commonly called 
the “ writ on the forehead ” ** which, according to present folk- 
lore, human eyes can descry but no one is able to decipher. 

Besides these general and pre-natal decrees, the Armenians 
seem to have believed in an ammual rendering of decrees, re- 
sembling the assembly of the Babylonian gods on the world- 
mountain during the Zagmuk (New Year) festival. They 
located this event on a spring night. As a witness of this we 
have only a universally observed practice. 

In Christian Armenia that night came to be associated with 
Ascension Day. The people are surely reiterating an ancient 
tradition when they tell us that at an unknown and mystic 
hour of the night which precedes Ascension silence envelops 
all nature. Heaven comes nearer. All the springs and streams 
cease to flow. Then the flowers and shrubs, the hills and 
stones, begin to salute and address one another, and each one 
declares its specific virtue. The King Serpent who lives in his 
own tail learns that night the language of the flowers. If 
anyone is aware of that hour, he can change everything into 
gold by dipping it into water and expressing his wish in the 
name of God. Some report also that the springs and rivers 
flow with gold, which can be secured only at the right moment. 
On Ascension Day the people try to find out what kind of luck 
is awaiting them during the year, by means of books that tell 
fortune, or objects deposited on the previous day in a basin of 
water along with herbs and flowers. A veil covers these things 
which have been exposed to the gaze of the stars during the 
mystic night, and a young virgin draws them out one by one 
while verses divining the future are being recited.” 


Whether Tiur originally concerned himself with all these 
things or not, he was the scribe of Aramazd. Being learned 
and skilful, he patronized and imparted both learning and 
skill. His temple, called the archive “ of the scribe of Ara- 
mazd, was also a temple of learning and skill, i.e. not only a 
special sanctuary where one might pray for these things and 
make vows, but also a school where they were to be taught. 
Whatever else this vaunted learning and skill included, it 
must have had a special reference to the art of divination. 
It was a kind of Delphic oracle. This is indirectly attested 
by the fact that Tiur, who had nothing to do with light, was 
identified with Apollo in Hellenic times, as well as by the 
great fame for interpretation of dreams which Tiur’s temple 
enjoyed. Here it was that the people and the grandees of 
the nation came to seek guidance in their undertakings and to 
submit their dreams for interpretation. The interpretation 
of dreams had long become a systematic science, which was 
handed down by a clan of priests or soothsayers to their pupils. 
Tiur must have also been the patron of such arts as writing 
and eloquence, for on the margin of some old Armenian 
MSS. of the book of Acts (chap. xiv, v. 12), the name of Her- 
mes, for whom Paul was once mistaken because of his elo- 
quence, was explained as “ the god Tiur.” 

Besides all these it is more than probable that Tiur was the 
god who conducted the souls of the dead into the nether world. 
The very common Armenian imprecation, “ May the writer 
carry him! ”*° or “The writer for him! ” as well as Tiur’s 
close resemblance to the Babylonian Nabu in many other re- 
spects, goes far to confirm this view. 

In spite of his being identified with Apollo and Hermes, 
Tiur stands closer to the Babylonian Nabu™ than to either of 
these Greek deities. In fact, Hermes himself must have de- 
veloped on the pattern of Nabu. The latter was a god of 
learning and of wisdom, and taught the art of writing. He 


knew — and so he could impart — the meaning of oracles and 
incantations. He inspired (and probably interpreted) dreams. 
In Babylonia Nabu was identified with the planet Mercury. 

But the name of Tiur is a proof that the Babylonian Nabu 
did not come directly from the South. By what devious way 
did he then penetrate Armenia? 

The answer is simple. In spite of the puzzling silence of 
the Avesta on this point, Iran knew a god by the name of Tir. 
One of the Persian months, as the old Cappadocian and Ar- 
menian calendars attest, was consecrated to this deity (perhaps 
also the thirteenth day of each month). We find among the 
Iranians as well as among the Armenians, a host of theopho- 
rous names composed with “ Tir ” such as Tiribazes, Tiridates, 
Tiran, Tirikes, Tirotz, Tirith, etc., bearing unimpeachable wit- 
ness to the god’s popularity. Tiro-naKathwa is found even in 
the Avesta ** as the name of a holy man. It is from Iran that 
Tir migrated in the wake of the Persian armies and civilization 
to Armenia, Cappadocia, and Scythia, where we find also Tir’s 
name as Teiro on Indo-Scythian coins of the first century of 
our era.” 

We have very good reasons to maintain that the description 
of the Armenian Tiur fits also the Iranian Tir, and that they 
both were identical with Nabu. As Nabu in Babylonia, so 
also Tir in Iran was the genius presiding over the planet Mer- 
cury and bore the title of Dabdir, “ writer.” ™ 

But a more direct testimony can be cited bearing on the orig- 
inal identity of the Persian Tir with Nabu. The Neo-Baby- 
Jonian king Nebuchadnezzar was greatly devoted to Nabu, 
his patron god. He built at the mouth of the Euphrates a 
city which he dedicated to him and called by a name containing 
the deity’s name, as a component part. This name was ren- 
dered in Greek by Berossus (or Abydenus?) as Tep7jSwv and 
Aipidwrs, “given to Mercury.” The latter form, says 
Rawlinson, occurs as early as the time of Alexander. The 


arrow-like writing-wedge was the commonest symbol of 
Nabu, and could easily give rise to the Persian designation.” 
That the arrow seems to have been the underlying idea of the 
Persian conception of Nabu is better attested by the fact that 
both Herodotus and Armenian history know the older form 
of Tiran, Tigranes, asa common name. Tigranes is, no doubt, 
derived from Tigris, old Persian for “ arrow.” 


Our knowledge of the Armenian Mihr is unfortunately 
very fragmentary. He was unquestionably Iranian. Although 
popular at one time, he seems to have lost some ground when 
we meet with him. His name Mihr (Parthian or Sassanian for 
Mithra) shows that he was a late comer. Nevertheless he 
was called the son of Aramazd, and was therefore a brother of 
Anahit and Nane. In the popular Zoroastrianism of Persia, 
especially in Sassanian times, we find that the sun (Mihr) and 
moon were children of Ormazd, the first from his own mother, 
or even from a human wife, and the moon, from his own sis- 
ter.” Originally Mihr may have formed in Armenia a triad 
with Aramazd and Anahit like that of Artaxerxes Mnemon’s 
inscriptions. If so he soon had to yield that place to the 
national god Vahagn. 

The Armenian Mithra presents a puzzle. If he was a 
genius of light and air, a god of war and contracts, a creature 
of Aramazd equal in might to his creator, as we find him to 
be in the Avesta, no trace of such attributes is left. But for 
the Armenians he was the genius or god of fire, and that is why 
he was identified with Hephaistos in syncretistic times.°* This 
strange development is perhaps further confirmed by the 
curious fact that until this day, the main fire festival of the 
Armenians comes in February, the month that once corre- 
sponded to the Mehekan (dedicated to Mihr) of the Arme- 


nian calendar. But it must not be overlooked that all over the 
Indo-European world February was one of the months in 
which the New Fires were kindled. 

The connection of Mihr with fire in Armenia may be ex- 
plained as the result of an early identification with the native 
Vahagn, who, as we shall see, was a sun, lightning, and fire- 
god. This conjecture acquires more plausibility when we re- 
member that Mihr did not make much headway in Armenia 
and that finally Vahagn occupied in the triad the place which, 
by right and tradition, belonged to Mihr. 

Of Mithraic mysteries in Armenia we hear nothing. There 
were many theophorous names compounded with his name, 
such as Mihran, Mihrdat. The Armenian word “Mehyan,” 
“temple,” seems also to be derived from his name. 

We know that at the Mithrakana festivals when it was the 
privilege of the Great King of Persia to become drunk (with 
haoma? ), a thousand horses were sent to him by his Armenian 
vassal. We find in the region of Sassun (ancient Tarauntis) a 
legendary hero, called Meher, who gathers around himself a 
good many folk-tales and becomes involved even in eschato- 
logical legends. He still lives with his horse as a captive in a 
cave called Zympzymps which can be entered in the Ascension 
night. There he turns the wheel of fortune, and thence he 
will appear at the end of the world. 

The most important temple dedicated to Mihr was in the 
village of Bagayarij (the town of the gods) in Derjan, Upper 
Armenia, where great treasures were kept. This sanctuary also 
was despoiled and destroyed by Gregory the Illuminator. It 
is reported that in that locality Mihr required human sacrifices, 
and about these Agathangelos also darkly hints.” This is, 
however, very difficult to explain, for in Armenia offerings 
of men appear only in connection with dragon (i.e. devil) wor- 
ship. On the basis of the association of Mihr with eschato- 
logical events, we may conjecture that the Armenian Mihr had 


gradually developed two aspects, one being that which we have 
described above, and the other having some mysterious re- 
lation to the under-world powers.” 


The Amesha Spenta, Spenta Armaiti (holy genius of the 
earth) and the keeper of vineyards, was also known to the 
translators of the Armenian Bible who used her name in 
2 Macc. vi. 7, to render the name of Dionysos. 

However, it would seem that she did not hold a place in the 
Armenian pantheon, and was known only as a Persian 
goddess. We hear of no worship of Spantaramet among the 
Armenians and her name does not occur in any passage on Ar- 
menian religion. It is very strange, indeed, that the translators 
should have used the name of an Iranian goddess to render 
that of aGreek god. Yet the point of contact is clear. Among 
the Persians Spenta Armaiti was popularly known also as the 
keeper of vineyards, and Dionysos was the god of the vine. 
But, whether it is because of the evident dissimilarity of sex 
or because the Armenians were not sufficiently familiar with 
Spantaramet, the translators soon (2 Macc. xiv. 33; 3 Macc. ii. 
29) discard her name and use for Dionysos “ Ormzdakan 
god,” i.e. Aramazd, whose peculiar interest in vegetation we 
have already noticed. Spenta Armaiti was better known to the 
ancient religion of Armenia as Santaramet, the goddess of 
the under-world. 

The worship of the earth is known to Eznik™ as a magian 
and heathen practice, but he does not directly connect it with 
the Armenians, although there can be little doubt that they 
once had an earth-goddess, called Erkir (Perkunas) or Armat, 
in their pantheon. 


EMITIC deities were introduced into the Armenian pan- 
theon comparatively late, notwithstanding the fact that 
the Armenians had always been in commercial intercourse 
with their southern neighbours. It was Tigranes the Great 
(94-54 B.c.) who brought these gods and goddesses back 
from his conquests along with their costly statues.’ It is not 
easy to say how much of politics can be seen in this procedure. 
As a semi-barbarian, who had acquired a taste for western 
things, he surely was pleased with the zxsthetic show and 
splendor of the more highly civilized Syrian empire of the Se- 
leucids and its religion. He must have seen also some under- 
lying identity between the Syrian deities and their Armenian 
brothers. However, in Armenia itself no real fusion took 
place between the native and foreign gods. The extant 
records show that out of all the Syrian gods and goddesses 
who migrated north, only Ast\ik (Astarte-Aphrodite) ob- 
tained a wide popularity. On the contrary, the others became 
little more than local deities, and that not without at first hav- 
ing encountered fierce opposition. The early stage of things 
is clearly reflected in the relation of Ba’al Shamin to Vahagn 
and in the manner in which he figures in the hero stories of 
Armenia as one who is discomfited or slain in battle. It is 
becoming more and more certain that almost all of these Se- 
mitic gods were brought from Phoenicia. But they hardly 
can have come in organized, coherent groups like Ba’al Sha- 
min — Ast\ik as Jensen thinks in his fantastic Hittiter und 


I. BA’?AL SHAMIN (Armen. Barshamina) 

In the village of Thortan, where patriarchs descended from 
Gregory the Illuminator were buried, later stood the “ bril- 
liantly white ” statue of the Syrian god Ba’al Shamin, the lord 
of heaven. This statue was made of ivory, crystal, and silver.’ 
It was a current tradition that Tigranes the Great had captured 
it during his victorious campaign in Syria. No doubt the 
costly material was expressive of the character and story of the 
deity whom it endeavored to portray. In the legendary his- 
tory of Armenia, where euhemerism rules supreme, Ba’al Sha- 
min appears as a giant whom the Syrians deified on account of 
his valorous deeds, but who had been vanquished by Aram and 
slain by his soldiers.* In reality Ba’al Shamin was originally 
a supreme god of the heavens, who gave good and evil, life 
and death, rain and sunshine, but who had already merged 
his identity in that of the Syrian sun-god, when he came 
to Armenia. In his adoptive home he ever remained a 
“more or less unpopular rival of Vahagn, a native sun and 
fire god. 

The one genuine Armenian myth about him that has sur- 
vived is that Vahagn stole straw from him in a cold winter 
night. The Milky Way was formed from the straw that 
dropped along as the heavenly thief hurried away.* This may 
be a distinctly Armenian but fragmentary version of the Pro- 
metheus legend, and the straw may well have something to do 
with the birth of fire. (See chapter on Vahagn.) Needless 
to say that the myth which was current even in Christian Ar- 
menia was not meant as a compliment to the foreign deity. 
It was an Armenian god playing a trick on a Syrian intruder. 
If Ast\ik was the wife of Ba’al Shamin, Vahagn won another 
victory over him, by winning her love. 



Nane is undoubtedly the Nana of ancient Babylonia, orig- — 
inally a Sumerian goddess. In Erech (Uruk), a city of South 
Babylonia, she was the goddess of the evening star and mis- 
tress of heaven. In fact, she was simply the Ishtar of Erech, 
the heroine of the famous Gilgamesh epic, a goddess of the 
life and activity of nature, of sensual love, of war and of 
death. Her statue had been in olden times captured by the 
Elamites, and its return to Erech was celebrated as a great 
triumph. Her worship in later times had spread broadcast 
west and north. She was found in Phrygia and even as far 
as Southern Greece. According to the First Book of the Mac- 
cabees (Chap. vi, v. 2) her temple at Elam contained golden 
statues and great treasures. 

She may have come to Armenia long before Tigranes en- 
riched the pantheon with Syrian and Phoenician gods. It is 
difficult to explain how she came to be called the daughter of 
Aramazd, unless she had once occupied an important position. 

We hear nothing about orgiastic rites at her Armenian 
temple in Thil (the @adiva of Ptolemy). On the con- 
trary, in Hellenizing times she was identified with Athene,’ 
which perhaps means that she had gradually come to be recog- 
nised as a wise, austere and war-like goddess. 


Among all the Semitic deities which found their way into 
the Armenian pantheon, none attained the importance that was 
acquired by AstAik, especially in Tarauntis. In spite of 
the presence of Anahit and Nana—two goddesses of her own 
type and therefore in rivalry with her—she knew how to hold 
her own and even to win the national god Vahagn as her lover. 


For her temple at Ashtisat (where Anahit and Vahagn also 
had famous sanctuaries) was known as “ Vahagn’s chamber,” 
and in it stood their statues side by side. However it is now 
impossible to reconstruct the myth that was at the basis of 
all this. It may be that we have here the intimate relation 
of a Syrian Ba’al to Astarte. It may also be that the myth is 
purely Greek and reflects the adventures of Ares with Aphro- 
dite, for Ast\ik was called Aphrodite by Hellenizing Arme- 
nians.. Hoffman recognized in the Armenian name Ast\ik 
(which means “ little star ”) a translation of the Syrian Kau- 
kabhta, a late designation of Ashtart (Ishtar) both as a god- 
dess and as the planet Venus. The latter is no more called 
Ast\ik by the Armenians, but Arusyak, “the little bride,” 
which is an old title of Ishtar, “the veiled bride,” and shows 
that the Armenians not only identified the planet Venus with 
their goddess Ast\ik, but were familiar with one of her most 
important titles. 

In view of their essential identity it was natural that some 
confusion should arise between Ast\ik and Anahit. So Vana- 
gan Vartabed says: “ Astarte is the shame of the Sidonians, 
whom the Syrians called Kaukabhta, the Greeks Aphrodite, 
and the Armenians Anahit.” Either this medieval author 
meant to say AstXik instead of Anahit, or for him Ast)ik’s 
name was not associated with sacred prostitution in Armenia. 

The custom of flying doves at the Rose-Sunday of the Ar- 
menians in Shirag (see Chapter VIII) suggests a possible rela- 
tion of Ast ik to this festival, the true character of which will 
be discussed later. 

Her memory is still alive in Sassoun (ancient Tarauntis), 
where young men endeavor to catch a glimpse of the goddess 
at sunrise when she is bathing in the river. But Ast\ik, who 
knows their presence, modestly wraps herself up with the 
morning mist. Her main temple was at Ashtishat, but she had 
also other sanctuaries, among which was that at Mount Palat 
or Pashat. 



The Armenian translation of the Bible calls the Jewish pass- 
over “the festival of Zatik,” while the Armenian church has 
from time immemorial applied that name to Easter. Zatik, 
in the sense of Passover or Easter, is unknown to the Greeks 
and Syrians. Here occurs, no doubt, an old word for an 
old deity or an old festival. But what does it mean? The 
Iberians have a deity-called “ Zaden,” by whom fishermen 
used to swear, but about whom we know nothing definite 
except that this deity is feminine and her name probably under~ 
lies that of Sathenik, the Albanian queen of King Artaxias 
(190 B.c.). We may perhaps infer from this queen’s reputed 
devotion to Ast\ik that Zaden was a northern representative 
of Ishtar. But Zatik’s form and associations remind us of the 
Palestinian Sedeq=—= Phoenician Yydyx. It is becoming 
clearer and clearer that once in Canaan there was such a chief 
deity whose name occurs in Melchi-sedeq, “ Sedeq is my King,” 
Adoni-Sedeq, “ Sedeq is my Lord,” or, according to a later 
view, “ Sedeq is King,” ‘* Sedeq is Lord.” Farther East, the 
Babylonian Shamash has two sons called respectively Kettu 
(which, like Sedeq, means “ righteousness”) and Misharu 
(“ rectitude ”). These two deities are mentioned also in the 
Sanchoniatho fragments of Philo Byblios under the names of 
Sydyk and Misor, as culture-heroes who have discovered the 
use of salt. Phoenician inscriptions have Sedeqgyathan, “ Sedeq 
gave,” as a personal name, as well as combinations of Sedeq 
with Ramman and Melek. Fr. Jeremias thinks that Sydyk 
and Misor were respectively the spring and autumn sun in 
sun-worship and the waxing and waning moon in moon 

As twins they were represented by Ashera at the door of 
Phoenician temples. According to the above mentioned San- 


choniatho fragments, Sydyk was in Phoenicia the father 
of the seven Kabirs (great gods) and of Eshmun (Asklepios) 
called the Eighth. In conformity with this in Persian 
and Greek times Sedeq was recognized among the Syrians 
as the angel (genius) of the planet Jupiter, an indication 
that he once was a chief deity. This god may have had also 
some relation to the Syrian hero-god Sandacos mentioned 
by Apollodorus of Athens,’ while on the other hand San- 
dakos may be identified also with the Sanda of Tarsus. At all 
events Sandakos went to Cilicia and founded (i.e. he was the 
god of) the city of Celenderis and became through two gener- 
ations of heroes the father of Adonis. Zatik, as well as Sedeq, 
was probably a vegetation god, like Adonis, whose resurrec- 
tion began at the winter solstice and was complete in the 
spring. The spring festival of such a god would furnish a 
suitable name both for the Jewish passover and the Christian 
Easter. The spring celebrations of the death and resurrection 
of Adonis were often adopted and identified by the Christian 
churches with the Death and Resurrection of Christ. How- 
ever, no trace of a regular worship of Zatik is found among 
the Armenians in historical times, although their Easter cele- 
brations contain a dramatic bewailing, burial, and resurrection 
of Christ. 

Unsatisfactory as this explanation is, it would seem to come 
nearer the truth than Sandalgian’s (supported by Tiryakian 
and others) identification of Zatik with the Persian root zad, 
“to strike,” from which is probably derived the Armenian 
word zenwm, “to slaughter.” | 



N the extant records Vahagn presents himself under the 
double aspect of a national hero and a god of war or 
courage.’ A thorough study, however, will show that he was 
not only a deity but the most national of all the Armenian gods. 
It is probable that Vahagn was intentionally overlooked when 
the Armenian pantheon was reorganized according to a stereo- 
typed scheme of seven main “ worships.” For his official 
cult is called “the eighth,” which probably means that it 
was an after-thought. Yet once he was recognized, he soon 
found himself at the very side of Aramazd and Anahit, 
with whom he formed a triad? on the pattern of that of 
Auramazda, Anahita, and Mithra of the later Persian in- 
scriptions. Moreover, he became a favorite of the Armenian 
kings who brought sacrifices to his main temple at Ashtishat.° 
How did all this take place? We may venture to suggest 
that when Zoroastrian ideas of a popular type were pervading 
Armenia and a Zoroastrian or perhaps Magian pantheon of a 
fragmentary character was superseding the gods of the country 
or reducing them to national heroes, Vahagn shared the fate 
of the latter class. Yet there was so much vitality in his wor- 
ship, that Mithra himself could not obtain a firm foothold in 
the land, in the face of the great popularity enjoyed by 
this native rival. 
Moses of Khoren reports an ancient song about Vahagn’s 
birth, which will give us the surest clue to his nature and origin. 
It reads as follows: 


The heavens and the earth travailed, 

There travailed also the purple sea, 

The travail held 

The red reed * (stalk) in the sea. 

Through the hollow of the reed (stalk) a smoke rose, 
Through the hollow of the reed (stalk) a flame rose 
And out of the flame ran forth a youth. 

He had hair of fire, 

He had a beard of flame, 

And his eyes were suns. 

Other parts of this song, now lost, said that Vahagn had 
fought and conquered dragons. Vishapaxad\, “ dragon- 
reaper,” was his best known title. He was also invoked, at 
least in royal edicts, as a god of courage. It is mostly in this 
capacity that he became a favorite deity with the Armenian 
kings, and in later syncretistic times, was identified with 
Herakles. Besides these attributes Vahagn claimed another. 
He was a sun-god. A medieval writer says that the sun 
was worshipped by the ancients under the name of Vahagn,” 
and his rivalry with Ba’al Shamin and probably also with 
Mihr, two other sun-gods of a foreign origin, amply con- 
firms this explicit testimony. 

These several and apparently unconnected reports about 
Vahagn, put together, evoke the striking figure of a god which 
can be paralleled only by the Vedic Agni, the fire-god who 
forms the fundamental and original unity underlying the 
triad: — Indra, the lightning, Agni, the universal and sacri- 
ficial fire, and Surya, the sun. Besides the fact that Vahagn’s 
name may very well be a compound of Vah and Agni, no 
better commentary on the birth, nature and functions of Va- 
hagn may be found than the Vedic songs on these three 

From the above quoted fragment which was sung to the 
accompaniment of the lyre by the bards of Godthn ° long after 
the Christianization of Armenia, we gather that Vahagn’s birth 


had a universal significance. He was a son of heaven, earth, 
and sea, but more especially of the sea. This wonderful youth 
may be the sun rising out of the sea, but more probably he is 
the fire-god surging out of the heavenly sea in the form of 
the lightning, because the travail can be nothing else than the 
raging storm. However, this matters little, for in Aryan 
religion, the sun is the heavenly fire and only another aspect 
of Agni. It is very significant that Armenians said both of 
the setting sun and of the torch that went out, that “‘ they were 
going to their mother,” i.e. they returned to the common es- 
sence from which they were born. Once we recognize the unity 
of all fire in heaven, in the skies, and on earth, as the Vedas do, 
we need no more consider the universal travail at Vahagn’s 
birth as a poetic fancy of the old Armenian bards. Here we 
are on old Aryan ground. At least in the Rgveda the fire 
claims as complex a parenthood as Vahagn. It is the child of 
heaven, earth, and water.” Even the description of the ex- 
ternal appearance of the Vedic Agni (and of Indra himself) 
agrees with that of Vahagn. Agni is always youthful, like 
Vahagn, with a continual fresh birth. Agni (as well as Indra) 
has tawny hair and beard like Vahagn, who has “ hair of fire 
and beard of flame.” Surya, the sun, is Agni’s eye. Vahagn’s 
eyes are suns. 

However, the key to the situation is the “reed ” or “ stalk.” 
It is a very important word in Indo-European mythology in 
connection with fire in its three forms, sun, lightning, and 
earthly fire. It is the specially sacred fuel which gives birth 
to the sacred fire. The Greek culture-hero Prometheus 
brought down the fire stolen from the gods (or the sun) in a 
fennel stalk. Indra, the lightning-god of the Vedas, after 
killing Vrtra was seized with fear and hid himself for a while in 
the stalk of a lotus flower in a lake. Once Agni hid himself 
in the water and in plants, where the gods finally discovered 
him. The sage Atharvan * of the Vedas extracted Agni from 


the lotus flower, i.e. from the lotus stalk. Many dragon- 
killers, who usually have some relation to the fire, sun, or 
lightning, are born out of an enchanted flower.” We must 
regard it as a very interesting and significant echo of the same 
hoary myth that Zarathustra’s soul was sent down in the stalk 
of a haoma-plant. Such a righteous soul was no doubt con- 
ceived as a fiery substance derived from above. 

It is not more than reasonable to see one original and primi- 
tive myth at the root of all these stories, the myth of the mi- 
raculous birth of the one universal fire stolen from the sun or 
produced by the fire-drill in the clouds whence it comes down 
to the earth (see Chapter VII). 

Further, the dragon-slaying of ancient mythology is usually 
the work of fire in one or another of its three aspects. The 
Egyptian sun-god (evidently a compound being) kills the 
dragon through his fire-spitting serpents. The Azar of the 
Avesta (who gives both heat and light) fights with Azi Da- 
haka. The Greek Herakles, manifestly a sun-god, strangles 
serpents in his early childhood. Agni, as well as Indra and 
Surya, is a Vrtra-slayer. Nothing scares away the Macedonian 
dragon so successfully as the name of the thunderbolt, and it 
is well known how the evil spirits of superstition and folk-lore, 
which are closely allied with dragons, as we shall see, are al- 
ways afraid of fire-brands and of fire in general. Macdonell 
says that Agni is very prominent as a goblin-slayer, even more 
so than Indra. 

Finally, Vahagn’s attributes of courage and victory are not 
strangers to the Vedic Agni and Indra.*” Both of them are 
gods of war and victory, no doubt mostly in virtue of their 
meteorological character. The war-like nature of weather- 
gods is a commonplace of universal mythology. Even the 
Avestic Verethraghna inherits this distinctive quality from his 
original Indo-European self, when his name was only a title 
of Indra or Vayu. 


We purposely delayed the mention of one point in our gen- 
eral description of Vahagn. Modern Armenian folk-lore 
knows a storm god called Dsovean (sea-born), who with an 
angry storm goddess, Dsovinar (she who was born of the sea), 
rules supreme in the storm and often appears to human eyes.”* 
In view of the fact that we do not know any other sea-born 
deity in Armenian mythology, who else could this strange 
figure of folk-lore be but Vahagn, still killing his dragons in 
the sky with his fiery sword or arrow and sending down the 
fertilizing rain? His title “ sea-born,” which must have been 
retained from an ancient usage and is in perfect keeping with 
the extant Vahagn song, strongly recalls the Vedic A pam napat 
“ water child,” who is supreme in the seas, dispensing water to 
mankind, but also identical with Agni clad with the lightning 
in the clouds.** Dsovinar may very well be a reminiscence of 
the mermaids who accompanied the “ water-child,” or even 
some female goddess like Indrani, the wife of Indra. 

From these considerations it becomes very plain that Vahagn 
is a fire and lightning god, born out of the stalk** in the 
heavenly (?) sea, with the special mission among other benef- 
icent missions, to slay dragons. His title of dragon-reaper 
is a distant but unmistakable echo of a pre-Vedic Vrtrahan. 

In fact, the Armenian myth about him is an independent 
tradition from the original home of the Indo-Iranians, and 
confirms the old age of many a Vedic myth concerning Agni, 
which modern scholars tend to regard as the fancies of later 
poets.** And is it not a striking coincidence that the only sur- 
viving fragment about Vahagn should be a birth-song, a topic 
which, according to Macdonell, has, along with the sacrificial 
functions of Agni, a paramount place in the minds of the Vedic 
singers of Agni? ** 

Mo of Chorene makes repeated allusions to the wor- 

ship of the sun and moon in Armenia. In oaths the 
name of the sun was almost invariably invoked,’ and there 
were also altars and images of the sun and moon.” Of what 
type these images were, and how far they were influenced by 
Syrian or Magian sun-worship, we cannot tell. We shall 
presently see the medizval conceptions of the forms of the 
sun and moon. Modern Armenians imagine the sun to be like 
the wheel of a water-mill.* Agathangelos, in the alleged 
letter of Diocletian to Tiridates, unconsciously bears witness 
to the Armenian veneration for the sun, moon and sttars.* 
But the oldest witness is Xenophon, who notes that the Ar- 
menians sacrificed horses to the sun,’ perhaps with some refer- 
ence to his need of them in his daily course through the skies. 
The eighth month of the Armenian year and, what is more sig- 
nificant, the first day of every month, were consecrated to the 
sun and bore its name, while the twenty-fourth day in the Ar- 
menian month was consecrated to the moon. The Armenians, 
like the Persians and most of the sun-worshipping peoples of 
the East, prayed toward the rising sun, a custom which the 
early church adopted, so that to this day the Armenian churches 
are built and the Armenian dead are buried toward the east, 
the west being the abode of evil spirits. As to the moon, 
Ohannes Mantaguni in the Fifth Century bears witness to the 
belief that the moon prospers or mars the plants,° and Anania 
of Shirak says in his Demonstrations,’ “ The first fathers called 


her the nurse of the plants,” a quite widely spread idea which 
has its parallel, both in the west and in the short Mah-yasht 
of the Avesta, particularly in the statement that vegetation 
grows best in the time of the waxing moon.* At certain of its 
phases the moon caused diseases, especially epilepsy, which was 
called the moon-disease, and Eznik tries to combat this super- 
stition with the explanation that it is caused by demons whose 
activity is connected with the phases of the moon! *® The 
modern Armenians are still very much afraid of the baleful 
influence of the moon upon children and try to ward it off by 
magical ceremonies in the presence of the moon.” 

As among many other peoples, the eclipse of the sun and 
moon was thought to be caused by dragons which endeavor 
to swallow these luminaries. But the “evil star” of the 
Western Armenians is a plain survival of the superstitions 
current among the Persians, who held that these phenomena 
were caused by two dark bodies, offspring of the primeval ox, 
revolving below the sun and moon, and occasionally passing 
between them and the earth." When the moon was at an 
eclipse, the sorcerers said that it resembled a demon (?). It 
was, moreover, a popular belief that a sorcerer could bind the 
sun and moon in their course, or deprive them of their light. 
He could bring the sun or moon down from heaven by witch- 
craft and although it was larger than many countries (worlds? ) 
put together, the sorcerers could set the moon in a threshing 
floor, and although without breasts, they could milk it like a 
cow.” This latter point betrays some reminiscence of a pri- 
mzval cow in its relation to the moon and perhaps shows that 
this luminary was regarded by the Armenians also as a goddess 
of fertility. Needless to add that the eclipses and the appear- 
ance of comets foreboded evil. Their chronologies are full of 
notices of such astronomical phenomena that presaged great 
national and universal disasters. Along with all these practices, 
there was a special type of divination by the moon. 


Both sun and moon worship have left deep traces in the 
popular beliefs of the present Armenians.”* 

A few ancient stellar myths have survived, in a fragmentary 
condition. Orion, Sirius, and other stars were perhaps in- 
volved in myths concerning the national hero, Hayk, as they 
bear his name. 

We have seen that Vahagn’s stealing straw from Ba’al Sha- 
min and forming the Milky Way, has an unmistakable refer- 
ence to his character. The Milky Way ™ itself was anciently 
known as “the Straw-thief’s Way,” and the myth is current 
among the Bulgarians, who may have inherited it from the 
ancient Thracians. 

Some of the other extant sun-myths have to do with the 
great luminary’s travel beyond the western horizon. The 
setting sun has always been spoken of among the Armenians 
and among Slavs as the sun that is going to his mother. 
According to Frazer “ Stesichorus also described the sun em- 
barking in a golden goblet that he might cross the ocean in the 
darkness of night and come to his mother, his wedded wife and 
children dear.” The sun may, therefore, have been imagined 
as a young person, who, in his resplendent procession through 
the skies, is on his way to a re-incarnation. The people prob- 
ably believed in a daily occurrence of death and birth, which 
the sun, as the heavenly fire, has in common with the fire, and 
which was most probably a return into a heavenly stalk or tree 
and reappearance from it. This heavenly stalk or tree itself 
must therefore have been the mother of the sun, as well as of 
the fire, and in relation to the sun was known to the Letts and 
even to the ancient Egyptians. The Armenians have forgotten 
the original identity of the mother of the sun and have pro- 
duced other divergent accounts of which Abeghian has given us 
several.” They often think the dawn or the evening twilight 
to be the mother of the sun. She is a brilliant woman with eyes 
shining like the beams of the sun and with a golden garment, 


who bestows beauty upon the maidens at sunset. Now she is 
imagined as a good woman helping those whom the sun pun- 
ished, now as a bad woman cursing and changing men into stone. 
The mother of the sun is usually supposed to reside in the 
palace of the sun, which is either in the east at the end of the 
world or in a sea, like the Lake of Van. In the absence of a 
sea, there is at least a basin near the mother. Like the Letto- 
Lithuanians, who thought that Perkuna Tete, the mother of 
the thunder and lightning, bathes the sun, and refreshes him 
at the end of the day, the Armenians also associate this 
mother closely with the bath which the sun takes at the close 
of his daily journey. The palace itself is gorgeously described. 
It is situated in a far-off place where there are no men, no birds, 
no trees, and no turf, and where the great silence is disturbed 
only by the murmur of springs welling up in the middle of 
each one of the twelve courts, which are built of blue marble 
and spanned over by arches. In the middle court, over the 
spring, there is a pavilion where the mother of the sun waits for 
him, sitting on the edge of a pearl bed among lights. When 
he returns he bathes in the spring, is taken up, laid in bed and 
nursed by his mother. 

Further, that the sun crosses a vast sea to reach the east 
was also known to the Armenians. Eznik is trying to prove 
that this is a myth but that the sun passes underneath the earth 
all the same. The sea is, of course, the primzval ocean upon 
which the earth was founded. It is on this journey that the 
sun shines on the Armenian world of the dead as he did on the 
Babylonian Aralu and on the Egyptian and Greek Hades. 
The following extract from an Armenian collection of folk- 
lore unites the sun’s relation to Hades and to the subterranean 
ocean: ‘And at sun-set the sun is the portion of the dead. 
It enters the sea and, passing under the earth, emerges in the 
morning at the other side.” ** 

Medieval writers *’ speak about the horses of the sun, 


an idea which is no more foreign to the Persians than to the 
Greeks. One counts four of them, and calls them Enik, Me- 
nik, Benik, and Senik, which sound like artificial or magic 
names, but evidently picture the sun on his quadriga. Another, 
mingling the scientific ideas of his time with mythical images, 
says: ‘The sun is a compound of fire, salt, and iron, light 
blended with lightning, fire that has been shaped — or with a 
slight emendation — fire drawn by horses. There are in it 
twelve windows with double shutters, eleven of which look up- 
ward, and one to the earth. Wouldst thou know the shape of 
the sun? It is that of a man deprived of reason and speech 
standing between two horses. If its eye (or its real essence) 
were not in a dish, the world would blaze up before it like a 
mass of wool.” The reader will readily recognize in “ the win- 
dows of the sun” a far-off echo of early Greek philosophy. 

Ordinarily in present-day myths the sun is thought to be a 
young man and the moon a young girl. But, on the other hand, 
the Germanic idea of a feminine sun and masculine moon is not 
foreign to Armenian thought. They are brother and sister, but 
sometimes also passionate lovers who are engaged in a weary 
search for each other through the trackless fields of the 
heavens. In such cases it is the youthful moon who is pining 
away for the sun-maid. Bashfulness is very characteristic of 
the two luminaries, as fair maids. So the sun hurls fiery needles 
at the bold eyes which presume to gaze upon her face, and the 
moon covers hers with a sevenfold veil of clouds.** These very 
transparent and poetic myths, however, have little in them that 
might be called ancient. 

The ancient Armenians, like the Latins, possessed two dif- 
ferent names for the moon. One of these was Lusin, an un- 
mistakable cognate of Luna (originally Lucna or Lucina), and 
the other Ami(m)s, which now like the Latin mens, signifies 
“month.” No doubt Lusim designated the moon as a female 
goddess, while Amins corresponded to the Phrygian mén 
or Lumnus. 


The same mediaeval and quasi-scientific author who gives 
the above semi-mythological description of the sun, portrays 
the moon in the following manner: ‘“ The moon was made out 
of five parts, three of which are light, the fourth is fire, and 
the fifth, motion . . . which is a compound, It is cloud-like, 
light-like (luminous) dense air, with twelve windows, six of 
which look heavenward and six earthward. What are the 
forms of the moon? In it are two sea-buffaloes (?). The 
light enters into the mouth of the one and is waning in the 
mouth of the other. For the light of the moon comes from the 
sun! ”7** Here again the sea-buffaloes may be a dim and 
confused reminiscence of a “ primeval cow ” which was associ- 
ated with the moon and, no doubt, suggested by the peculiar 
form of the crescent. Let us add also that the Armenians — 
spoke of the monthly rebirth of the moon, although myths 
concerning it are lacking. 

Fragments of Babylonian star-lore found their way into Ar- 
menia probably through Median Magi. We have noticed 
the planetary basis of the pantheon. In later times, however, 
some of the planets came into a bad repute.” Anania of 
Shirak (seventh century) reports that heathen (?) held Ju- 
piter and Venus to be beneficent, Saturn and Mars were ma- 
licious, but Mercury was indifferent. 

Stars and planets and especially the signs of the Zodiac were 
bound up with human destiny upon which they exercised a 
decisive influence. According to Eznik™ the Armenians be- 
lieved that these heavenly objects caused births and deaths. 
Good and ill luck were dependent upon the entrance of certain 
stars into certain signs of the Zodiac. So they said: ‘“ When 
Saturn is in the ascendant, a king dies; when Leo (the lion) is 
ascendant, a king is born. When the Taurus is ascendant, a 
powerful and good person is born. With Aries, a rich person 
is born, ‘ just as the ram has a thick fleece.? With the Scorpion, 
a wicked and sinful person comes to the world. Whoever is 


born when Hayk (Mars?) is in the ascendant dies by iron, i.e., 
the sword.” Much of this star lore is still current among the 
Mohammedans in a more complete form. 

Eznik alludes again and again to the popular belief that 
stars, constellations, and Zodiacal signs which bear names of 
animals like Sirius (dog), Arcturus (bear), were originally 
animals of those names that have been lifted up into the 

Something of the Armenian belief in the influence that 
Zodiacal signs could exercise on the weather and crops is pre- 
served by al-Birini ** where we read: “I heard a number 
of Armenian learned men relate that on the morning of the 

Fox-day there appears on the highest mountain, between the 
Interior and the Exterior country, a white ram (Aries?) which 
is not seen at any other time of the year except about this time 
of this Day. Now the inhabitants of that country infer that the 
year will be prosperous if the ram bleats; that it will be sterile 
if it does not bleat.” 

Fic. 1. RELIEF 

Found in the neighborhood of Ezzinjan 


HE worship of fire was possessed by Armenians as a ven- 
erable heirloom long before they came into contact with 
Zoroastrianism. It was so deeply rooted that the Christian 
authors do not hesitate to call the heathen Armenians ash- 
worshippers, a name which they apply also to the Persians 
with less truth. We have seen that the old word “ Agni” 
was known to the Armenians in the name of Vahagn and that 
their ideas of the fire-god were closely akin to those of the 
Rgveda. Fire was, for them, the substance of the sun and of 
the lightning. Fire gave heat and also light. Like the sun, 
the light-giving fire had a “mother,” most probably the 
water-born and water-fed stalk or tree out of which fire was 
obtained by friction or otherwise." To this mother the fire 
returned when extinguished. Even today to put out a candle 
or a fire is not a simple matter, but requires some care and re- 
spect. Fire must not be desecrated by the presence of a dead 
body, by human breath, by spitting into it, or burning in it 
such unclean things as hair and parings of the finger nail. An 
impure fire must be rejected and a purer one kindled in 
its place, usually from a flint. All this may be Zoroastrian 
but it is in perfect accord with the older native views. 

The people swear by the hearth-fire just as also by the sun. 
Fire was and still is the most potent means of driving the evil 
spirits away. The Eastern Armenian who will bathe in the 
night scares away the malignant occupants of the lake or pool 

FIRE 55 

by casting a fire-brand into it, and the man who is harassed by 
an obstinate demon has no more powerful means of getting rid 
of him than to strike fire out of a flint. Through the sparks 
that the latter apparently contains, it has become, along with 
iron,’ an important weapon against the powers of darkness. 
Not only evil spirits but also diseases, often ascribed to de- 
moniac influences, can not endure the sight of fire, but must flee 
before this mighty deity. In Armenian there are two words 
for fire. One is hur,* a cognate of the Greek vp, and the 
other krak, probably derived, like the other Armenian word 
jrag, “candle,” “ light,” from the Persian dirag (also Ccirah, 
Caraz). Hur was more common in ancient Armenian, but we 
find also krak as far back as the Armenian literature reaches. 
While Vahagn is unmistakably a male deity, we find that the 
fire as a deity was female, like Hestia or Vesta. This was also 
true of the Scythian fire-god whom Herodotus calls Hestia. 
On the contrary the Vedic Agni and the Avestic Atar were 
masculine. | 

The worship of fire took among the Armenians a two-fold 
aspect. There was first the hearth-worship. This seems to 
have been closely associated with ancestor spirits,* which natu- 
rally flocked around the center and symbol of the home-life. 
It is the lips of this earthen and sunken fireplace which the 
young bride reverently kisses with the groom, as she enters 
her new home for the first time. And it is around it that they 
piously circle three times. A brand from this fire will 
be taken when any member of the family goes forth to found 
a new home. Abeghian, from whose excellent work on the 
popular beliefs of the Armenians we have culled some of this 
material, says that certain villages have also their communal 
hearth, that of the founder of the village, etc., which receives 
something like general reverence, and often, in cases of mar- 
riage and baptism, is a substitute for a church when there is 
none at hand. Ethnologists who hold that the development 


of the family is later than that of the community would natu- 
rally regard the communal fire as prior in order and impor- 

A very marked remnant of hearth and ancestor worship 
is found in special ceremonies like cleaning the house 
thoroughly and burning candles and incense, which takes place 
everywhere on Saturdays. 

The second aspect of fire-worship in Armenia is the public 
one. It is true that the Persian Atrushans (fire-temples or 
enclosures) found little favor in both heathen and Christian 
Armenia, and that fire, as such, does not seem to have attained 
a place in the rank of the main deities. Nevertheless, there was 
a public fire-worship, whether originally attached to a commu- 
nal hearth or not. It went back sometimes to a Persian frobag 
or farnbag (Arm. hurbak) fire, and in fact we have several ref- 
erences to a Persian or Persianized fire-altar in Bagavan, the 
town of the gods.* Moreover, there can be little doubt that 
Armenians joined the Persians in paying worship to the 
famous seven fire-springs of Baku in their old province 
of Phaitakaran. But usually the Armenian worship of the 
fire possessed a native character. 

The following testimonies seem to describe some phases of 
this widely spread and deeply rooted national cult. 

In the hagiography called the “ Coming of the Rhipsimean 
Virgins” *° wrongly ascribed to Moses of Chorene, we read 
that on the top of Mount Palat (?) there was a house of Ara- 
mazd and AstXik (Venus), and on a lower peak, to the south- 
east, there was “a house of fire, of insatiable fire, the god of 
incessant combustion.” At the foot of the mountain, moreover, 
there was a mighty spring. The place was called Buth. “ They 
burnt the Sister Fire and the Brother Spring.” 

Elsewhere we read, in like manner: “ Because they called 
the fire sister, and the spring brother, they did not throw the 
ashes away, but they wiped them with the tears of the 
brother.” * 

FIRE 57 

_ Lazare of Pharpe, a writer of the fifth century,* speaking 
of an onslaught of the Christian Armenians on the sacred fire, 
which the Persians were endeavoring to introduce into Ar- 
menia, says: “ They took the fire and carried it into the water 
as into the bosom of her brother, according to the saying of 
the false teachers of the Persians.” The latter part of his 
statement, however, is mistaken. So far as we know, the Per- 
sians did not cast the sacred fire into the water, but allowed 
the ashes to be heaped in the fire enclosure. When the floating 
island (sea-monster) upon which Keresaspa had unwittingly 
kindled a fire, sank and the fire fell into the water, this was 
accounted to him a great sin. The above was rather a purely 
Armenian rite. It would seem that it was a part of the Ar- 
menian worship of the Sister Fire to extinguish her in the 
bosom of her loving brother, the water, a rite which certainly 
hides some nature myth, like the relation of the lightning 
to the rain, or like the birth of the fire out of the stalk in the 
heavenly sea. Whatever the real meaning of this procedure 
was, the ashes of the sacred fire imparted to the water with 
which they were “ wiped ” healing virtue. Even now in Ar- 
menia, for example, in Agn and Diarbekir the sick are given 
this potent medicine to drink which consists of the flaky ashes 
of oak-fire mixed with water. W. Caland reports the same 
custom of the ancient Letts in his article on the Pre-Christian 
Death and Burial Rites of the Baltic People.* As the oak in 
the European world is the tree sacred to the god of the 
heavens and the storm, we may easily perceive what underlies 
the ancient custom. 

But it is not clear whether the Armenians (like many West- 
ern nations) had several fire-festivals in the year. We have, 
however, the survival of an indubitable fire-festival — which 
originally aimed at influencing the activity of the rain-god — 
in the annual bonfire kindled everywhere by Armenians at 
Candlemas, or the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, on the 


13th of February, in the courts of the churches. The fuel 
often consists of stalks, straw, and thistles, which are kindled 
from a candle of the altar.*° The bonfire is usually repeated 
on the streets, in the house-yards, or on the flat roofs. The 
people divine the future crops through the direction of the 
flames and smoke. They leap over it (as a lustration?) and 
circle around it. Sometimes also they have music and a dance. 
The ashes are often carried to the fields to promote their 
fertility. It is perhaps not entirely without significance that 
this festival falls within the month of Mehekan (consecrated 
to Mihr), as the Armenian Mithra had distinctly become a 
fire-god."* Another fire-festival, rather locally observed, will 
be mentioned in the next chapter. 



F FIRE were a female principle, water was masculine, 
and as we have noticed, they were somehow very closely 
associated as sister and brother in the Armenian fire-worship. 
It is possible that this kinship was suggested by the trees and 
luxuriant verdure growing on the banks of rivers and lakes. 
As we know, reeds grew even in the heavenly sea. 

Many rivers and springs were sacred, and endowed with 
beneficent virtues. According to Tacitus,” the Armenians 
offered horses as a sacrifice to the Euphrates, and divined by 
its waves and foam. The sources of the Euphrates and Tigris 
received and still receive worship.” Sacred cities were built 
around the river Araxes and its tributaries. Even now there 
are many sacred springs with healing power, usually called 
“the springs of light,” and the people always feel a certain 
veneration towards water in motion, which they fear to pollute. 
The people still drink of these ancient springs and burn candles 
and incense before them, for they have placed them under the 
patronage of Christian saints. 

The Transfiguration Sunday, which comes in June, was con- 
nected by the Armenian Church with an old water festival. 
At this time people drench each other with water and the 
ecclesiastical procession throws rose water at the congregation 
during the Transfiguration Day rites. On this day the 
churches are richly decorated with roses and the popular name 
of the Festival is Vartavar, “ Burning with Roses.” * 


It is also reported that in various parts of Armenia, the 
Vartavar is preceded by a night of bonfires. Therefore it 
can be nothing else than the water festival which seems to 
have once gone hand in hand with the midsummer (St. John’s, 
St. Peter’s, etc.) fires in Europe, at which roses played a very 
conspicuous part.* It is barely possible that the Armenian 
name of this festival, “ Burning with Roses,” preserves some 
allusion to the original but now missing fire, and even that 
flowers were burnt in it or at least cast across the fire as in 
Europe. In Europe the midsummer water festival was ob- 
served also with bathings and visits to sacred springs. In parts 
of Germany straw wheels set on fire were quenched in 
the river; and in Marseilles, the people drenched each other 
with water. There can be little doubt that the water was used 
in these various ways not only as a means of purification from 
guilt and disease, but also and principally as a rain-charm. 
Frazer, who, in his Golden Bough, has heaped together an 
enormous mass of material on the various elements and aspects 
of these festivals, has thereby complicated the task of working 
out a unified and self-consistent interpretation. 

The custom of throwing water at each other is reed 
by al-Birtini ° of the Persians, in connection with their New- 
Year’s festival. As the Persian new year came in the spring, 
there can be little doubt that the festival aimed at the increase 
of the rain by sympathetic magic.® In fact, even now in certain 
places of Armenia the tillers returning from their first day of 
labour in the fields are sprinkled with water by those who lie 
in wait for them on the way. So it may be safely assumed 
that in Armenia also in ancient times the Navasard brought 
with it the first water-festival of the year. In certain places 
like the region of Shirak, flying doves form a part of the 
Vartavar celebrations. Whether this has some reference to 
an old AstXik (Ishtar) festival, is difficult to say. It is 
quite possible that as in Europe, so also in ancient Armenia, 


love-making and other more objectionable rites, formed an 
important feature of these mid-summer celebrations. 

The great centre of the Armenian Navasard and of the water 
festival (Vartavar) was Bagavan, probably because both had 
the same character. The fact that Bagavan was also a centre 
of fire-worship emphasizes once more the close association of 
these two elements which we have already pointed out. 



E HAVE old testimony to tree and plant worship in 
Armenia. There were first the poplars (sausi) of 
Armenia, by which a legendary saws (whose name and exist- 
ence were probably derived from the venerated tree itself) 
divined. Then we have the words Haurut, Maurut, as names 
of flowers (Hyacinthus racemosus Dodonei). These, how- 
ever, seem to be an echo of the Iranian Haurvatat and Ame- 
retat (“health ” and “immortality ”), two Amesha-Spentas 
who were also the genii of plants and water. The oak and 
other trees are still held to be sacred, especially those near a 
spring, and upon these one may see hanging pieces of clothing 
from persons who wish to be cured of some disease. This 
practice is often explained as a substitution of a part for the 
whole, and it is very common also among the Semites in gen- 
eral and the Mohammedans in particular.’ 

Many mountains were sacred, while others, perhaps sacred 
by themselves in very ancient times, became the sites of famous 
temples. The towering Massis (Ararat) was called Azat 
(Yazata?), “venerable.” It was a seat of dragons and fairies, 
but the main reason of its sacredness must be sought in its im- 
posing grandeur, its volcanic character, or even its association 
with some deity like Marsyas-Masses, by the Phrygo-Arme- 
nians.. This Phrygian god Marsyas-Masses was famous for 
his skill with the flute but especially for his widely known 
interest in rivers. He was the son of Hyagnis, probably a 


lightning god, and like the Norwegian Agne was hung from 
a tree by Apollo, who skinned him alive (Apuleius). In fact 
_Marsyas was no more than a tribal variety of Hyagnis, and 
Hyagnis can be nothing else but the Phrygian form of 

Mount Npat (Nidarns of Strabo), the source of the 
mighty Tigris, must have enjoyed some veneration as a deity, 
because the 26th day of each Armenian month was dedicated 
toit. It has been maintained that Npat was considered by Zo- 
roastrians the seat of Apam-Napat, an important Indo-Iranian 
water deity. 

Mt. Pashat or Palat was the seat of an Aramazd and Ast- 
Nik temple and a centre of fire-worship. Another unidenti- 
fied mountain in Sophene was called the Throne of Anahit. 

One may safely assume that the Armenians thought in 
an animistic way, and saw in these natural objects of worship 
some god or spirit who in Christian times easily assumed the 
name and character of a saint. 


HE loss of the ancient songs of Armenia is especially 

regrettable at this point, because they concerned them- 
selves mostly with the purely national gods and heroes. The 
first native writers of Armenian history, having no access to 
the ancient Assyrian, Greek, and Latin authors, drew upon this 
native source for their material. Yet the old legends were 
modified or toned down in accordance with euhemeristic views 
and accommodated to Biblical stories and Greek chronicles, 
especially that of Eusebius of Caesarea. It is quite possible 
that the change had already begun in pagan times, when 
Iranian and Semitic gods made their conquest of Armenia. 

ae bee 4 

There can be little doubt that the epic songs mentioned 
Hayk first of all. Hayk was a handsome giant with finely 
proportioned limbs, curly hair, bright smiling eyes, and a 
strong arm, who was ready to strike down all ambition, 
divine or human, which raised its haughty head and dreamt 
of absolute dominion. The bow and the triangular arrow 
were his inseparable companions. Hayk was a true lover 
of independence. He it was, who, like Moses of old, led 
his people from the post-diluvian tyranny of Bel (Nimrod) in 
the plain of Shinar to the cold but free mountains of Armenia, 
where he subjugated the native population.* Bel at first plied 
him with messages of fair promise if he would return. But the 
hero met them with a proud and defiant answer. Soon after, 


as was expected, Cadmus, the grandson of Hayk, brought 
tidings of an invasion of Armenia by the innumerable forces 
of Bel. Hayk marched south with his small but brave army 
to meet the tyrant on the shores of the sea (of Van) “ whose 
briny waters teem with tiny fish.”* Here began the battle. 
Hayk arranged his warriors in a triangle on a plateau 
among mountains in the presence of the great multitude of 
invaders. The first shock was so terrible and costly in men 
that Bel, confused and frightened, began to withdraw. But 
Hayk’s unerring triangular arrow, piercing his breast, issued 
forth from his back. The overthrow of their chief was a signal 
for the mighty Babylonian forces to disperse. 

Hayk is the eponymous hero of the Armenians according 
to their national name, Hay, used among themselves. From 
the same name they have called their country Hayastan 
or the Kingdom (Ashkharh = Iran. Khshathra) of the Hays. 
Adjectives derived from MHayk describe both gigantic 
strength and great beauty. Gregory of Narek calls even the 
beauty of the Holy Virgin, Hayk-like! The word Hayk itself 
was often used in the sense of a “ giant.” 

Some have tried to give an astronomical interpretation to 
this legend. Pointing out the fact that Hayk is also the Ar- 
menian name for the constellation Orion, they have main- 
tained that the triangular arrangement of Hayk’s army re- 
flects the triangle which the star Adaher in Orion forms 
with the two dogstars. However, any attempt to establish 
a parallelism between the Giant Orion and Hayk as we know 
him, is doomed to failure, for beyond a few minor or general 
points of resemblance, the two heroes have nothing in com- 
mon. Hayk seems to have been also the older Armenian name 
of the Zodiacal sign Libra, and of the planet Mars,’ while the 
cycle of Sirius was for the Armenians the cycle of Hayk. 

The best explanation of Hayk’s name and history seems to 
lie in the probable identity of Hayk (Hayik, “little Hay,” 


just as Armenak means “ little Armenius ”) with the Phryg- 
jan sky-god Hyas whom the Greeks called ws. Both the 
Greeks and the Assyrians* know him as an independent 
Thraco-Phrygian deity. The Assyrians call him the god 
of Moschi.’ Ina period when everything Thracian and Phryg- 
ian was being assimilated by Dionysos or was sinking into 
insignificance before his triumphant march through the 
Thraco-Phrygian world, Hyas, from a tribal deity, became 
an epithet of this god of vegetation and of wine. For us 
Hyas is no one else but the Vayu of the Vedas and the 
Avesta. So in the legend of Hayk we probably have the 
story of the battle between an Indo-European weather-god 
and the Mesopotamian Bel. It is very much more natural 
to derive a national name like Hay from a national deity’s 
name, according to the well-known analogies of Assur and 
Khaldi, than to interpret it as pati, “ chief.” ° 


According to Moses of Chorene, Armenak is the name of 
the son of Hayk. He chose for his abode the mountain Ara- 
gads (now Alagez) and the adjacent country. 

He is undoubtedly another eponymous hero of the Ar- 
menian race. Armenius, father of Er, mentioned by Plato 
in his Republic,’ can be no other than this Armenak who, 
according to Moses of Chorene and the so-called Sebeos-frag- 
ments, is the great-grandfather of Ara (Er). The final 
syllable is a diminutive, just as is the “k” in Hayk. Pop- 
ular legend, which occupied itself a good deal with Hayk, 
seems to have neglected Armenak almost completely. It is 
quite possible that Armenak is the same as the Teutonic Ir- 
min and the Vedic Aryaman, therefore originally a title of the 
sky-god. The many exploits ascribed to Aram, the father of 
Ara, may indeed, belong by right to Armenak.* 



Shara is said to be the son of Armais. As he was uncom- 
monly voracious his father gave him the rich land of Shirak 
to prey upon. He was also far-famed for his numerous 
progeny. The old Armenian proverb used to say to 
gluttons: “If thou hast the throat (appetite) of Shara, we 
have not the granaries of Shirak.” One may suspect that an 
ogre is hiding behind this ancient figure. At all events his 
name must have some affinity with the Arabic word Skharah, 
which means gluttony.® 


Aram, a son of Harma, seems to be a duplicate of Ar- 
menak, although many scholars have identified him with 
Arame, a later king of Urartu, and with Aram, an eponymous 
hero of the Aramaic region. The Armenian national tradition 
makes him a conqueror of Barsham “whom the Syrians deified 
on account of his exploits,” of a certain Nychar Mades (Nychar 
the Median), and of Paiapis Chalia, a Titan who ruled from 
the Pontus Euxinus to the Ocean (Mediterranean). Through 
this last victory Aram became the ruler of Pontus and Cappa- 
docia upon which he imposed the Armenian language. 

In this somewhat meagre and confused tale we have prob- 
ably an Armenian god Aram or Armenius in war against the 
Syrian god Ba’al Shamin, some Median god or hero called 
Nychar,*® and a western Titan called Paiapis Chadia, who no 
doubt represents in a corrupt form the Urartian deity Khaldi 
with the Phrygian (?) title of Papaios. The legend about 
the Pontic war probably originated in the desire to explain how 
Armenians came to be found in Lesser Armenia, or it may be a 
distant and distorted echo of the Phrygo-Armenian struggles 
against the Hittite kingdoms of Asia Minor. 



With Ara we are unmistakably on mythological ground. 
Unfortunately this interesting hero has, like Hayk and 
Aram, greatly suffered at the hands of our ancient Hellen- 
izers. The present form of the myth, a quasi-classical ver- 
sion of the original, is as follows: When Ninus, King of 
Assyria, died or fled to Crete from his wicked and volup- 
tuous queen Semiramis, the latter having heard of the manly 
beauty of Ara, proposed to marry him or to hold him for a 
while as her lover. But Ara scornfully rejected her ad- 
vances for the sake of his beloved wife Nvard. Incensed by 
this unexpected rebuff, the impetuous Semiramis came 
against Ara with a large force, not so much to punish him 
for his obstinacy as to capture him alive. Ara’s army was 
routed and he fell dead during the bloody encounter. At 
the end of the day, his lifeless body having been found 
among the slain, Semiramis removed it to an _ upper 
room of his palace hoping that her gods (the dog-spirits — 
called Aralezes) would restore him to life by licking his 
wounds. Although, according to the rationalizing Moses of 
Chorene, Ara did not rise from the dead, the circumstances 
which he mentions leave no doubt that the original myth 
made him come back to life and continue his rule over 
the Armenians in peace. For, according to this author,” 
when Ara’s body began to decay, Semiramis dressed up 
one of her lovers as Ara and pretended that the gods had 
fulfilled her wishes. She also erected a statue to the gods in 
thankfulness for this favor and pacified Armenian minds by 
persuading them that Ara was alive. 

Another version of the Ara story is to be found at the 
end of Plato’s Republic,’ where he tells us that a certain 
Pamphylian hero called Er, son of Armenius, “ happening on 
a time to die in battle, when the dead were on the tenth day 


carried off, already corrupted, was taken up sound; and 
being carried home as he was about to be laid on the funeral 
pile, he revived, and being revived, he told what he saw of the 
other state.” The long eschatological dissertation which fol- 
lows is probably Thracian or Phrygian, as these peoples were 
especially noted for their speculations about the future life. 

The Pamphylian Er’s parentage, as well as the Armenian 
version of the same story, taken together, make it highly 
probable that we have here an Armenian (or Phrygian), 
rather than Pamphylian,** myth, although by some queer 
chance it may have reached Greece from a Pamphylian 
source. Semiramis may be a popular or learned addition to 
the myth. But it is quite reasonable to assume that the orig- 
inal story represented the battle as caused by a disappointed 
woman or goddess. An essential element, preserved by Plato, 
is the report about life beyond the grave. The Armenian 
version reminds us strongly of that part of the Gilgamesh 
epic in which Ishtar appears in the forest of Cedars guarded 
by Khumbaba to allure Gilgamesh, a hero or demi-god, with 
attributes of a sun-god, into the rdle of Tammuz. We know 
how Gilgamesh refused her advances. Eabani, the companion 
of Gilgamesh, seems to be a first (primzval) man who was 
turning his rugged face towards civilization through the love 
of a woman. He takes part in the wanderings of Gilgamesh, 
and fights with him against Ishtar and the heavenly bull sent 
by Anu to avenge the insulted goddess. Apparently 
wounded in this struggle Eabani dies. Thereupon Gilgamesh 
wanders to the world of the dead in search of the plant of life. 
On his return he meets with Eabani who has come back from 
the region of the dead to inform him of the condition of the 
departed and of the care with which the dead must be buried 
in order to make life in Aralu (Hades) bearable." 

Possibly the original Ara story goes back to this Baby- 
lonian epic but fuses Gilgamesh and Eabani into one hero. 


Sayce suggests that Ara may be the Eri of the Vannic in- 
scriptions and the latter may have been a sun-god.” 


This story also must be interpreted mythologically, although 
it is connected with two historical characters. It is a dragon 
legend which does not contain the slightest fraction of histor- 
ical fact, but was manifestly adapted to the story of Astyages 
in the first book of Herodotus. For the sake of brevity we 
shall not analyse it in detail, as its chief elements will be 
brought out in the chapter on dragons. The rationalizing zeal 
of the later Armenian authors has evidently made use of the 
fact that Azdahak, “ dragon,” was also the name of a famous 
Median king in the times of Cyrus the Great.*® 

The legend was as follows: Tigranes (from Tigrish, 
“arrow,” the old Iranian name of the Babylonian Nabu), 
King of Armenia, was a friend of Cyrus the Great. His im- 
mediate neighbor on the east, Azdahak of Media, was in great 
fear of both these young rulers. One night in a dream, he 
saw himself in a strange land near a lofty ice-clad mountain 
(the Massis). A tall, fair-eyed, red-cheeked woman, clothed 
in purple and wrapped in an azure veil was sitting on the sum- 
mit of the higher peak, caught with the pains of travail. Sud- 
denly she gave birth to three full-grown sons, one of whom, 
bridling a lion, rode westward. The second sat on a zebra and 
rode northward. But the third one, bridling a dragon, 
marched against Azdahak of Media and made an onslaught 
on the idols to which the old king (the dreamer himself) was 
offering sacrifice and incense. There ensued between the Ar- 
menian knight and Astyages a bloody fight with spears, which 
ended in the overthrow of Azdahak. In the morning, warned 
by his Magi of a grave and imminent danger from Tigranes, 
AZdahak decides to marry Tigranuhi, the sister of Tigranes, in 


order to use her as an instrument in the destruction of her 
brother. His plan succeeds up to the point of disclosing his 
intentions to Tigranuhi. Alarmed by these she immediately 
puts her brother on his guard. Thereupon the indomitable 
Tigranes brings about an encounter with Azdahak in which he 
plunges his triangular spear-head into the tyrant’s bosom 
pulling out with it a part of his lungs.** Tigranuhi had already 
managed to come to her brother even before the battle. 
After this signal victory, Tigranes compels AZdahak’s family 
to move to Armenia and settle around Massis. These 
are the children of the dragon, says the inveterate ration- 
alizer, about whom the old songs tell fanciful stories, and 
Anush, the mother of dragons, is no one but the first queen 

of Azdahak.* 

a Cz Mai yyy = 

rr ee \ =A “a 
SB a4 saat 
fis r Fy Y= 
= sso tl Se 
> = 
BOS f 
p S 


Found in Van usually explained as Semiramis in the form of a dove and 
possibly representing the Goddess Sharis, the Urartion Ishtar. 


HE ARMENIAN world of spirits and monsters teems 
with elements both native and foreign. Most of the 
names are of Persian origin, although we do not know how 
much of this lore came directly from Iran. For we may safely 
assert that the majority of these uncanny beings bear a general 
Indo-European, one might even say, universal character. So 
any attempt to explain them locally, as dim memories of an- 
cient monsters or of conquered and exterminated races will in 
the long run prove futile. One marked feature of this vital 
and ever-living branch of mythology is the world-wide uni- 
formity of the fundamental elements. Names, places, forms, 
combinations may come and go, but the beliefs which underlie 
the varying versions of the stories remain rigidly constant. On 
this ground mythology and folklore join hands. 

The chief actors in this lower, but very deeply rooted stra- 
tum of religion and mythology are serpents and dragons, good 
or evil ghosts and fairies, among whom we should include 
the nymphs of the classical world, the elves and kobolds of the 
Teutons, the vilas of the Slavs, the jinn and devs of Islam, etc.” 

At this undeveloped stage of comparative folklore it would 
be rash to posit a common origin for all these multitudinous 
beings. Yet they show, in their feats and characteristics, many 
noteworthy interrelations and similarities all over the world. 

Leaving aside the difficult question whether serpent-worship 
precedes and underlies all other religion and mythology, we 
have cumulative evidence, both ancient and modern, of a 
world-wide belief that the serpent stands in the closest rela- 

St. Sg 7 a ee 

-unsen Isqeow nig nSeA ns mot enoitsntmullT 
to foodsé yboansa od1 to yiswdild ons ni tqince 
| Jusis29nn0D eb1otisH .enoteiM 



Illuminations from an Armenian Gospel manu- 
script in the Library of the Kennedy School of | 
Missions, Hartford, Connecticut. 

ot ea 

ae ee Te 


tion to the ghost. The genit, the ancestral spirits, usually ap- 
pear in the form of a serpent. As serpents they reside in and 
protect, their old homes. Both the serpent and the ancestral 
ghost have an interest in the fecundity of the family and the 
fertility of the fields. They possess superior wisdom, healing 
power, and dispose of wealth, etc. They do good to those 
whom they love, harm to those whom they hate. Then 
these serpents and dragons frequently appear as the physical 
manifestation of other spirits than ghosts, and so we have a 
large class of serpent-fairies in all ages and in many parts of 
the world, like the serpent mother of the Scythian race,’ and 
like Melusine, the serpent-wife of Count Raymond of Poitiers 
(Lusignan). Further, the ghosts, especially the evil ones, have 
a great affinity with demons. Like demons they harass men 
with sickness and other disasters. In fact, in the minds of many 
people, they pass over entirely into the ranks of the demons. 

Keeping, then, in mind the fact that, as far back and as far 
out as our knowledge can reach, the peoples of the world have 
established sharp distinctions between these various creatures 
of superstitious imagination, let us run over some of the feats 
and traits which are ascribed to all or most of them. This 
will serve as an appropriate introduction to the ancient Arme- 
nian material. 

They all haunt houses as protectors or persecutors; live in 
ruins, not because these are ruins, but because they are ancient 
sites; have a liking for difficult haunts like mountains, 
caves, ravines, forests, stony places; live and roam freely 
in bodies of water, such as springs, wells, rivers, lakes, seas; 
possess subterranean palaces, realms and gardens, and dispose 
of hidden treasures; although they usually externalize them- 
selves as serpents, they have a marked liking for the human 
shape, in which they often appear. They exhibit human habits, 
needs, appetites, passions, and organizations. Thus they are 
born, grow, and die (at least by a violent death). They are 


hungry and thirsty and have a universal weakness for milk; 
they often steal grain and go a-hunting. They love and hate, 
marry and give in marriage. In this, they often prefer the 
fair sons and daughters of men (especially noble-born ladies), 
with whom they come to live or whom they carry off to their 
subterranean abodes. The result of these unions is often — 
not always—a weird, remarkable, sometimes also very 
wicked, progeny. They steal human children, leaving change- 
lings in their stead. They usually (but not always) appear 
about midnight and disappear before the dawn, which is her- 
alded by cockcrow. They, cause insanity by entering the human 
body. Flint, iron, fire, and lightning, and sometimes also 
water, are very repugnant to them. They hold the key to 
magical lore, and in all things have a superior knowledge, 
usually combined with a very strange credulity. They may 
claim worship and often sacrifices, animal as well as human. 

Although these beings may be classified as corporeal and 
incorporeal, and even one species may, at least in certain 
countries, have a corporeal as well as incorporeal variety, it 1s 
safe to assert that their corporeality itself is usually of a subtle, 
airy kind and that the psychical aspect of their being is by far 
the predominating one. This is true even of the serpent and 
the dragon. Finally, in one way or another, all of these mys- 
terious or monstrous beings have affinities with chthonic powers. 

Largely owing to such common traits running through al- 
most the whole of the material, it is difficult to subject the Ar- 
menian data to a clean-cut classification. 


The Shahapet (Iranian Khshathrapati, Zd. Shoithrapaitt, 
lord of the field or of the land) is nothing else than the very 
widely known serpent-ghost (genius) of places, such as fields, 
woods, mountains, houses, and, especially, graveyards. It ap- 


pears both as man and as serpent. In connection with houses, 
the Armenian Shahapet was probably some ancestral ghost 
which appeared usually as a serpent. Its character was always 
good except when angered. According to the Armenian trans- 
lation of John Chrysostom, even the vinestocks and the olive- 
trees had Shahapets. In Agathangelos Christ Himself was 
called the Shahapet of graveyards,* evidently to contradict or 
correct a strong belief in the serpent-keeper of the resting place 
of the dead. We know that, in Hellenistic countries, grave- 
stones once bore the image of serpents. We have no classical 
testimony to the Shahapet of homesteads, but modern Arme- 
nian folklore, and especially the corrupt forms Shvaz and 
Shvod, show that the old Shahapet of Armenia was both a 
keeper of the fields and a keeper of the house. The Shvaz 
watches over the agricultural products and labours, and appears 
to men once a year in the spring. The Shvod is a guardian of 
the house. Even today people scare naughty little children 
with his name. But the identity of these two is established by 
a household ceremony which is of far-off kinship to the Ro- 
man paternalia, itself an old festival of the dead or of ghosts, 
which was celebrated from February 13 to 21. In this con- 
nection Miss Harrison has some remarks “ on the reason for 
the placating of ghosts when the activities of agriculture were 
about to begin and the powers of the underground world were 
needed to stimulate fertility.”° But the Armenians did not 
placate them with humble worship and offerings: they rather 
forced them to go to the fields and take part in the agricultural 
labours. This ancient ceremony in its present form may be 
described as follows:° On the last day of February the Ar- 
menian peasants, armed with sticks, bags, old clothes, etc., strike 
the walls of the houses and barns saying: “ Out with the Shvod 
and in with March! ” On the previous night a dish of water 
was placed on the threshold, because, as we have seen, water 
- 1s supposed to help the departure of the spirits, an idea also 


underlying the use of water by the Slavic peoples in their 
burial rites. Therefore, as soon as the dish is overturned, 
they close the doors tightly and make the sign of the cross. 
Evidently, this very old and quaint rite aims at driving the 
household spirits to the fields, and the pouring out of the water 
is regarded as a sign of their departure. According to the de- 
scription in the Pshrank, the Shvods, who are loath to part 
with their winter comforts, have been seen crying and asking, 
“ What have we done to be driven away in this fashion? ” 
Also they take away clean garments with them and return them 
soon in a soiled condition, no doubt as a sign of their hard 
labours in the fields. 

The house-serpent brings good luck to the house, and some- 
times also gold. So it must be treated very kindly and respect- 
fully. If it departs in anger, there will be in that house endless 
trouble and privation. Sometimes they appear in the middle 
of the night as strangers seeking hospitality and it pays to be 
kind and considerate to them, as otherwise they may depart in 
anger, leaving behind nothing but sorrow and misfortune. 

As there are communal hearths, so there are also district 
serpents. The serpent-guardian of a district discriminates care- 
fully between strangers and the inhabitants of the district, 
hurting the former but leaving the latter in peace.’ 

As the Armenian ghost differs little from other ghosts in its 
manner of acting, we shall refer the reader for a fuller descrip- 
tion to the minute account of it given in Abeghian’s Arme- 
mischer Volksglaube (chapters 2 and 6). 


The close kinship of the dragon with the serpent has always 
been recognized. Not only have they usually been thought 
to be somewhat alike in shape, but they have also many myth- 
ical traits in common, such as the dragon’s blood, the serpent’s 
or the dragon’s stone,” the serpent’s or the dragon’s egg, both 


of the latter being talismans of great value with which we 
meet all over the world and in all times. They are corporeal 
beings, but they have a certain amount of the ghostly and the 
demoniac in them. Both can be wicked, but in folklore and 
mythology they are seldom as thoroughly so as in theology. 
Of the two, the dragon is the more monstrous and demoniac in 
character, especially associated in the people’s minds® with evil 
spirits. He could enter the human body and possess it, caus- 
ing the victim to whistle. But even he had redeeming qualities, 
on account of which his name could be adopted by kings and 
his emblem could wave over armies. In the popular belief of 
Iran the dragon can not have been such a hopeless reprobate 
as he appears in the Avestan Azi Dahaka. 

Mount Massis, wrongly called Ararat by Europeans, was 
the main home of the Armenian dragon. The volcanic char- 
acter of this lofty peak, with its earthquakes, its black smoke 
and lurid flames in time of eruption, may have suggested its 
association with that dread monster. But the mountain was 
sacred independently of dragons, and it was called Azat (i.e., 
Yazata (?), “ venerable”). 

The Armenian for dragon is Vishap, a word of Persian origin 
meaning “ with poisonous saliva.” It was an adjective that 
once qualified Azi Dahaka, but attained an independent ex- 
istence even in Iran. In the Armenian myths one may plaus- 
ibly distinguish “ the chief dragon ” and the dragons, although 
these would be bound together by family ties; for the dragon 
breeds and multiplies its kind. The old songs told many a 
wonderful and mysterious tale about the dragon and the brood 
or children of the dragon that lived around the Massis. Most 
of these stories have a close affinity with western fairy tales. 
Some wicked dragon had carried away a fair princess called 
Tigranuhi, seemingly with her own consent. Her brother, 
King Tigranes, a legendary character, slew the dragon with his 
spear in a single combat and delivered the abducted maiden.” 


Queen Sathenik, the Albanian wife of King Artaxias, fair 
and fickle as she was, had been bewitched into a love affair 
with a certain Argavan who was a chief in the tribe of the 
dragons. Argavan induced Artaxias himself to partake of a 
banquet given in his honour in “the palace of the dragons,” 
where he attempted some treacherous deed against his royal 
guest. The nature of the plot is not stated, but the King must 
have escaped with his life for he kept his faithless queen and 
died a natural death.™ 7 

The dragon (or the children of the dragons) used to steal 
children and put in their stead a little evil spirit of their own 
brood, who was always wicked of character. An outstanding 
victim of this inveterate habit — common to the dragons and 
Devs of Armenia and their European cousins, the fairies ** — 
was Artavasd, son of the above mentioned Artaxias, the friend 
of Hannibal in exile and the builder of Artaxata. History 
tells us that Artavasd, during his short life, was perfectly true 
to the type of his uncanny ancestry, and when he suddenly 
disappeared by falling down a precipice of the venerable Mas- 
sis, it was reported that spirits of the mountain or the dragons 
themselves had caught him up and carried him off. 

More important than all these tales, Vahagn, the Armenian 
god of fire (lightning), won the title of “ dragon-reaper ” by 
fighting against dragons like Indra of old. Although the 
details of these encounters have not come down to us, the 
dragons in them must have been allied to Vrtra, the spirit of 

The epic songs mentioned also Anush, as the wife of 
the dragon and the mother of the children of the dragon. 
She lived in the famous ravine in the higher peak of the 

The records as they stand, permit us to conjecture that be- 
sides the dragon as such, there was also a race of dragon- 
men, born of the intermarriage of the dragon with human 


wives. But we cannot be very certain of this, although there 
would be nothing strange in it, as the history of human beliefs 
teems with the “serpent fathers” of remarkable men, and 
the character of the Iranian AZi Dahaka himself easily lends 
itself to these things. The children of the dragon also, 
whether mixed beings or not, dwelt around the Massis and 
were regarded as uncanny people with a strong bent towards, 
and much skill in, witchcraft.** 

However it may be about the children of the dragon, it is 
incontestable that the dragons themselves were a very real 
terror for the ancient Armenians.’ We are told that they lived 
in a wide ravine left by an earthquake on the side of the higher 
peak of the Massis. According to Moses, Eznik, and Vahram 
Vardapet,* they had houses and palaces on high mountains, in 
one of which, situated on the Massis, King Artaxias had en- 
joyed the dangerous banquet we have mentioned. 

These dragons were both corporeal and personal beings 
with a good supply of keen intelligence and magical power. 
They boasted a gigantic size and a terrible voice (Enishe). 
But the people were neither clear nor unanimous about 
their real shape. They were usually imagined as great ser- 
pents and as sea-monsters, and such enormous beasts of the 
land or sea were called dragons, perhaps figuratively. We find 
no allusion to their wings, but Eznik says that the Lord pulls 
the dragon up “ through so-called oxen ” in order to save men 
from his poisonous breath.” The dragons appeared in any 
form they chose, but preferably as men and as serpents, like 
the jinn of the Arabs. They played antics to obtain their live- 
lihood. They loved to suck the milk of the finest cows.*® 
With their beasts of burden or in the guise of mules and 
camels they were wont to carry away the best products of the 
soil. So the keepers of the threshing floor, after the harvest, 
often shouted , “ Hold fast! Hold fast! ” (Kal! Kal!) 
probably to induce them to leave the grain by treating them as 


guarding genii."’ But they carefully avoided saying “ Take! 
Take! ” (Ar! Ar!). 

The dragons also went hunting just as did the Kaches with 
whom we shall presently meet. They were sometimes seen 
running in pursuit of the game (Vahram Vardapet) and they 
laid traps or nets in the fields for birds. All these things point 
to the belief that their fashion of living was like that of men 
in a primitive stage of development, a trait which we find also 
in western and especially Celtic fairies. 

It would seem that the dragons as well as their incorporeal 
cousins the Kaches claimed and kept under custody those mor- 
tals who had originally belonged to their stock. Thus Arta- 
vasd was bound and held captive in a cave of the Massis for 
fear that he might break loose and dominate or destroy the 
world.** Alexander the Great, whose parentage from a ser- 
pent or dragon-father was a favorite theme of the eastern 
story-mongers, was, according to the medizval Armenians, 
confined by the dragons in a bottle and kept in their mountain 
palace at Rome. King Erwand also, whose name, according 
to Alishan, means serpent, was held captive by the dragons 
in rivers and mist. He must have been a changeling, or rather 
born of a serpent-father. For he was a worshipper of Devs 
and, according to Moses, the son of a royal princess from an 
unknown father. He was proverbially ugly and wicked and 
possessed an evil eye under the gaze of which rocks crumbled 
to pieces.”® 

Like most peoples of the world, Armenians have always 
associated violent meteorological phenomena with the dragon. 
This association was very strong in their mind. In a curious 
passage in which Ejishe (fifth century) compares the wrath 
of Yezdigerd I to a storm, the dragon is in the very centre 
of the picture. We need not doubt that this dragon was 
related to the foregoing, although ancient testimony on this 
subject leaves much to be desired. Eznik’s account of the 


ascension of the dragon “through so-called oxen ” into the 
sky, is in perfect accord with the medizval Armenian accounts 
of the “ pulling up of the dragon.” This process was always 
accompanied by thunder, lightning, and heavy showers. Vana- 
kan Vardapet says: “ They assert that the Vishap (the dragon) 
is being pulled up. The winds blow from different directions 
and meet each other. This is a whirlwind. If they do not 
overcome each other, they whirl round each other and go 
upward. The fools who see this, imagine it to be the dragon 
or something else.” *° Another medizval author says: “ The 
whirlwind is a wind that goes upward. Wherever there are 
abysses or crevasses in the earth, the wind has entered the veins 
of the earth and then having found an opening, rushes up 
together in a condensed cloud with a great tumult, uprooting 
the pine-trees, snatching away rocks and lifting them up noisily 
to drop them down again. This is what they call pulling up 
the dragon.” * 

Whether the dragon was merely a personification of the 
whirlwind, the water spout, and the storm cloud is a hard 
question which we are not ready to meet with an affirmative 
answer, like Abeghian ** who follows in this an older school. 
Such a simple explanation tries to cover too many diverse phe- 
nomena at once and forgets the fundamental fact that the 
untutored mind of man sees many spirits at work in nature, 
but rarely, if ever, personifies Nature itself. To him those 
spirits are very real, numerous, somewhat impersonal and ver- 
satile, playing antics now on the earth, now in the skies, and 
now under the ground. In the case of the dragon causing 
storms, to the Armenian mind the storm seems to be a second- 
ary concomitant of the lifting up of the dragon which threat- 
ens to destroy the earth.”® Yet, that the original, or at least 
the most outstanding dragon-fight was one between the thunder 
or lightning-god and the dragon that withholds the waters is 
an important point which must not be lost sight of.” 


We must not forget to mention the worship that the dragon 
enjoyed. Eznik says that Satan, making the dragon appear 
appallingly large, constrained men to worship him. This wor- 
ship was no doubt similar in character to the veneration paid to 
evil spirits in many lands and perhaps not entirely distin- 
guished from serpent-worship. According to the same writer, 
at least in Sassanian times even Zrvantists (magians? ) indulged 
in a triennial worship of the devil on the ground that he is 
evil by will not by nature, and that he may do good or even be 
converted.** But there was nothing regular or prescribed 
about this act, which was simply dictated by fear. As the black 
hen and the black cock** make their appearance often in 
general as well as Armenian folk-lore as an acceptable sacri- 
fice to evil spirits, we may reasonably suppose that they had 
some réle in the marks of veneration paid to the dragon in 
ancient times. But we have also more definite testimony in 
early martyrological writing (History of St. Hripsimeans) 
about dragon worship. The author, after speaking of the cult 
of fire and water (above quoted) adds: ‘ And two dragons, 
devilish and black, had fixed their dwelling in the cave of the 
rock, to which young virgins and innocent youths were sacri- 
ficed. The devils, gladdened by these sacrifices and altars, 
by the sacred fire and spring, produced a wonderful sight with 
flashes, shakings and leapings. And the deep valley 
(below) was full of venomous snakes and scorpions.” 

Finally the myth about the dragon’s blood was also known 
to the Armenians. The so-called “treaty ” between Con- 
stantine and Tiridates, which is an old but spurious document, 
says that Constantine presented his Armenian ally with a 
spear which had been dipped in the dragon’s blood. King 
Arshag, son of Valarshag, also had a spear dipped in the blood 
of “ reptiles ” with which he could pierce thick stones.”” Such 
arms were supposed to inflict incurable wounds. 



The Kaches form a natural link between the Armenian 
dragon and the Armenian Devs of the present day. In fact 
they are probably identical with the popular (not theological) 
Devs. They are nothing more or less than the European 
fairies, kobolds, etc. Their name means “ the brave ones,” 
which is an old euphemism (like the present day Armenian ex- 
pression “ our betters,” or like the Scots “ gude folk”) used 
of the spirit world and designed to placate powerful, irrespon- 
sible beings of whose intentions one could never be sure. 
From the following statements of their habits and feats one 
may clearly see how the people connected or confused them 
with the dragons. Our sources are the ancient and mediaeval 
writers. Unlike the dragon the Kaches were apparently incor- 
poreal beings, spirits, good in themselves, according to the 
learned David the Philosopher, but often used by God to exe- 
cute penalties. Like the Devs, they lingered preferably 
in stony places with which they were usually associated and 
Mount Massis was one of their favorite haunts. Yet they 
could be found almost everywhere. The country was full of 
localities bearing their name and betraying their presence, like 
the Stone of the Kaches, the Town of the Kaches, the 
Village of the Kaches, the Field of the Kaches (Katchavar, 
“where the Kaches coursed’), etc.”* 

Like the dragons, they had palaces on high sites. According 
to an old song it was these spirits who carried the wicked Arta- 
vazd up the Massis, where he still remains an impatient 
prisoner. They hold also Alexander the Great in Rome, and 
King Erwand in rivers and darkness, i.e., mists.” They waged 
wars, which is a frequent feature of serpent and fairy, commu- 
nities, and they went hunting.*° They stole the grain from 
the threshing floor and the wine from the wine press. They 
often found pleasure in beating, dragging, torturing men, just 


as their brothers and sisters in the West used to pinch their 
victims black and blue. Men were driven out of their wits 
through their baleful influence. Votaries of the magical art 
in medieval Armenia were wont, somewhat like Faust and his 
numerous tribe, to gallop off, astride of big earthen jars,” to 
far-off places, and walking on water, they arrived in foreign 
countries where they laid tables before the gluttonous Kaches 
and received instructions from them. Last of all, the medi- 
zeval Kaches (and probably also their ancestors) were very 
musical. The people often heard their singing, although we 
do not know whether their performance was so enthralling as 
that ascribed to the fairies in the West and to the Greek sirens. 
However, their modern representatives seem to prefer human 
music to their own. According to Djvanshir, a historian of 
the Iberians of Transcaucasia, the wicked Armenian King 
_ Erwand built a temple to the Kaches at Dsung, near Akhalka- 
Nak in Iberia (Georgia). 


These are not mentioned in the older writers, so it is not 
quite clear whether they are a later importation from other 
countries or not. They probably are female Kaches, and folk- 
lore knows the latter as their husbands. Alishan, without 
quoting any authority, says that they wandered in prairies, 
among pines, and on the banks of rivers. They were invisible 
beings, endowed with a certain unacquired and imperishable 
knowledge. They could neither learn anything new nor for- 
get what they knew. They had rational minds which were 
incapable of development. They loved weddings, singing, 
tambourines, and rejoicings, so much so, that some of the later 
ecclesiastical writers confused them as a kind of evil spirits 
against whose power of temptation divine help must be in- 
voked. In spite of their name (“ perpetual brides”) they 


were held to be mortal.** The common people believed that 
these spirits were especially interested in the welfare, toilette, 
marriage, and childbirth of maidens. There are those who 
have supposed that Moses of Chorene was thinking of these 
charming spirits when he wrote the following cryptic words: 
“The rivers having quietly gathered on their borders along 
the knees (?) of the mountains and the fringes of the fields, 
the youths wandered as though at the side of maidens.” 


Torch is in name and character related to the Duergar 
(Zwerge, dwarfs) of Northern Europe and to the Telchins 
of Greece or rather of Rhodes.** This family of strange 
names belongs evidently to the Indo-European language, and 
designated a class. of demons of gigantic or dwarfish size, 
which were believed to possess great skill in all manner of arts 
and crafts. They were especially famous as blacksmiths. In 
antiquity several mythical works were ascribed to the Greek 
Telchins, such as the scythe of Cronos and the trident of Posei- 
don. They were mischievous, spiteful genii who from time 
immemorial became somewhat confused with the Cyclops. The 
Telchins were called children of the sea and were found only 
in a small number. 

The Torch, who can hardly be said to be a later importa- 
tion from Greece, and probably belongs to a genuine Phrygo- 
Armenian myth, resembles both the Telchins and the Cyclops. 
In fact he is a kind of Armenian Polyphemos. He was said to 
be of the race of Pascham (?) and boasted an ugly face, a 
gigantic and coarse frame, a flat nose, and deep-sunk and cruel 
eyes. His home was sought in the west of Armenia most 
probably in the neighbourhood of the Black Sea. The old epic 
songs could not extol enough his great physical power and 
his daring. The feats ascribed to him were more wonderful 


than those of Samson, Herakles, or even Rustem Sakjik (of 
Segistan), whose strength was equal to that of one hundred 
and twenty elephants.** 

With his bare hands the Armenian Torch sold crush a 
solid piece of hard granite. He could smooth it down into a 
slab and engrave upon it pictures of eagles and other objects 
with his finger-nails. He was, therefore, known as a great 
artisan and even artist. 

Once he met with his foes, on the shores of the Black Sea, 
when he was sore angered by something which they had evi- 
dently done to him. At his appearance they took to the sea 
and succeeded in laying eight leagues between themselves and 
the terrible giant. But he, nothing daunted by this distance, be- 
gan to hurl rocks as large as hills at them. Several of the 
ships were engulfed in the abyss made by these crude pro- 
jectiles and others were driven off many leagues by the mighty 
waves the rocks had started rolling.” 


Ahriman, the chief of the Devs, was known in Armenia 
only as a Zoroastrian figure. The Armenians themselves prob- 
ably called their ruler of the powers of evil, Char, “ the evil 
one.” Just as Zoroastrianism recognized zemeka, “ winter,” 
as an arch demon, so the Armenians regarded snow, ice, 
hail, storms, lightning, darkness, dragons and other beasts, 
as the creatures of the Char or the Devs.** Although they 
knew little of a rigid dualism in the moral world or of a con- 
stant warfare between the powers of light and the powers of 
darkness, they had, besides all the spirits that we have de- 
scribed and others with whom we have not yet met, a very 
large number of Devs. These are called also ais (a cognate 
of the Sanscrit asu and Teutonic as or aes), which Eznik ex- 
plains as “ breath.” Therefore a good part of the Devs were 


pictured as beings of “air.” They had, like the Mohammedan 
angels, a subtile body. They were male and female, and 
lived in marital relations not only with each other, but 
often also with human beings.*’ They were born and perhaps 
died. Nor did they live in a state of irresponsible anarchy, 
but they were, so to speak, organized under the absolute rule 
of a monarch. In dreams they often assumed the form of 
wild beasts “* in order to frighten men. But they appeared 
also in waking hours both as human beings and as serpents.** 

Stony places, no doubt also ruins, were their favorite haunts, 
and from such the most daring men would shrink. Once when 
an Armenian noble was challenging a Persian viceroy of royal 
blood to ride forward on a stony ground, the Prince retorted: 
“Go thou forward, seeing that the Devs alone can course in 
stony places.” * 

Yet according to a later magical text, there can be nothing 
in which a Dev may not reside and work. Swoons and in- 
sanity, yawning and stretching, sneezing, and itching around 
the throat or ear or on the tongue, were unmistakable signs 
of their detested presence. But men were not entirely helpless 
against the Devs. Whoever would frequently cut the air or 
strike suspicious spots with a stick or sword, or even keep these 
terrible weapons near him while sleeping, could feel quite 
secure from their endless molestations.** Of course, we must 
distinguish between the popular Dev, who is a comparatively 
foolish and often harmless giant, and the theological Dev, 
who is a pernicious and ever harmful spirit laying snares on 
the path of man. To the latter belonged, no doubt, the Druzes 
(the Avestic Drujes), perfidious, lying, and lewd female 
spirits. Their Avestic mode of self-propagation, by tempting 
men in their dreams,” is not entirely unknown to the Arme- 
nians. They probably formed a class by themselves like the 
Pariks “* (Zoroastrian Pairikas, enchantresses), who also were 
pernicious female spirits, although the common people did not 


quite know whether they were Devs or monsters.“* These, 
too, were mostly to be sought and found in ruins.” 


The most gruesome tribe of this demoniac world was that 
of the Als. It came to the Armenians either through the 
Syrians or through the Persians, who also believe in them 
and hold them to be demons of child-birth.** Al is the Baby- 
lonian Alu, one of the four general names for evil spirits. 
But the Armenian and Persian Al corresponds somewhat to the 
Jewish Lilith and Greek Lamia. 

Probably the. Als were known to the ancient Armenians, 
but it is a noteworthy fact that we do not hear about them until 
medieval times. They appear as half-animal and_half- 
human beings, shaggy and bristly. They are male and female 
and have a “ mother.” ** They were often called beasts, nev- 
ertheless they were usually mentioned with Devs and Kaches. 
According to Gregory of Datev “ they lived in watery, damp 
and sandy places, but they did not despise corners in houses 
and stables. A prayer against the Als describes them as im- 
pure spirits with fiery eyes, holding a pair of iron scissors in 
their hands, wandering or sitting in sandy places. Another 
unnamed author describes an Al as a man sitting on the sand. 
He has snake-like hair, finger-nails of brass, teeth of iron 
and the tusk of a boar. They have a king living in abysses, 
whom they serve, and who is chained and sprinkled up to the 
neck with (molten?) lead and shrieks continually. 

The Als were formerly disease-demons who somehow came 
to restrict their baleful activities to unborn children and their 
mothers. They attack the latter in child-birth, scorching her 
ears, pulling out her liver and strangling her along with 
the unborn babe. They also steal unborn children of seven 
months, at which time these are supposed in the East to be fully 

a a 

“re iiceieeenaaidamsaiaenammm nates . 
r "] 


quite know whether they were Devs or monsters 
0m, were mostly to be sewghit and ——— 

yi. ALS” 

The most gruesome tribe of this Pai wal wasthat = 
of the Als. It came to the Armenians either through the ——__ 
arian or through the Persians, who also believe in them 
and hold them te be dernoas of chilhd-hath.” Al ie the Baby 
aaa Ala, one of the fow general namiee Gar eit spirits. 
Rut the Armeman and Persian Al-coterepes sormgwhat to the 
Jewish Lilith and Greek Lamm. 

Probably the Als were known to the ancient Armenians, 

fit Is a notew. thy fact PLATE Vi bee ae 

o i ppear ? _ bal ums - 
Vat a satay of A rom Alishan’s An 

“Faith of iam. hey were — called maw nev- 
Vy were usuall cntroned with Devs and Kaches. 
v ™ they lived in watery; damp — 

sandy plac « ‘hey ded not despise corners in houses 
; : Lf er against the Als describes them ag im- 
Dut | yes, holding a pair of iren séeeen in 
sandering or sitting in sandy phe Amiaiier 

thor describes an Al as a mah sittin athe Sand. 

zs snake-like hair, finger-nails of ber iy. sooth of iron 
he x of a boar.. They have @ haa aaa ae a : 

whom they serve, a and who 1s chained aki gaa e 

neck with (m | lead and shrieks cam si | } 
The Als were pies disease-cieromé wh y somehow c came | 
te restrict their baleful activities te we é 
mucthers. They attack the latter ia aim 
care, pulling out her liver aad aTigytts 
‘lie umborn babe. They also steal gata 
mqutha, at which time these are euippe 


Sane SS 


: wy. “ / 


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Mee, fe 

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Me My Yo Ml 


yest sae 


= S 
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Sk Ay 

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| S \ SAMY «\ 



LY UL YAN yh Vy 


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alta — 
Nin sie 

oe fo. oS : 
— ~~ s | 
S SS .- 
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S = SS | 
4 Sos 

‘ ‘ A &s. My 


Al, the dread of women in childbirth. From 
Alishan’s Ancient Faith of Armenia. 


sae MANN haas 


ory SY aT 


teins «| 

a AMAA Avtnctahy 

fs r Soeises > page mg 


formed and mature, in order to take them “ deaf and dumb ” 
(as a tribute? ) to their dread king.*® In other passages they are 
said to blight and blind the unborn child, to suck its brain and 
blood, to eat its flesh, and to cause miscarriage, as well as to 
prevent the flow of the mother’s milk. In all countries women 
in child-bed are thought to be greatly exposed to the influence 
and activity of evil spirits. Therefore, in Armenia, they are 
surrounded during travail with iron weapons and instruments 
with which the air of their room and the waters of some neigh- 
bouring brook (where these spirits are supposed to reside) are 
frequently beaten.” If, after giving birth to the child, the 
mother faints, this is construed as a sign of the Al’s presence. 
In such cases the people sometimes resort to an extreme means 
of saving the mother, which consists in exposing the child on 
a flat roof as a peace-offering to the evil spirits.” Identical 
or at least very closely connected with the Al is Thepla, who 
by sitting upon a woman in child-bed causes the child to become 
black and faint and to die.” 


These monster spirits, at least in Armenian mythology, 
stand close to the dragons. The word means in Persian, 
“ crocodile,” and the language has usually held to this matter- 
of-fact sense, although in the Persian folk-tale of Hatim Tai, 
the Nhang appears in the semi-mythical character of a sea- 
monster, which is extremely large and which is afraid of the 
crab. The Armenian translators of the Bible use the word in 
the sense of “crocodile” and “ hippopotamus.” However, 
the Nhangs of Armenian mythology, which has confused an 
unfamiliar river monster with mythical beings, were per- 
sonal ** and incorporeal. They were evil spirits which had 
fixed their abode in certain places and assiduously applied 
themselves to working harm. They sometimes appeared as 


women (mermaids? ) in the rivers. At other times they became 
seals (phok) and, catching the swimmer by the feet, dragged 
him to the bottom of the stream, where, perhaps, they had 
dwellings like the fairies.“* In a geography (still in MS.) as- 
cribed to Moses, the Nhangs are said to have been observed 
in the river Aracani (Murad Chay?) and in the Euphrates. 
After using an animal called charchasham for their lust, vam- 
pire-like they sucked its blood and left it dead. The same 
author reports that, according to some, the Nhang was a beast, 
and according to others, a Dev. John Chrysostom (in the 
Armenian translations) describes the daughter of Herodias 
as more bloodthirsty than “the Nhangs of the sea.” 


Ancient Armenians believed that when a brave man fell in 
battle or by the hand of a treacherous foe, spirits called “ Ar- 
lez? descended to restore him to life by licking his wounds. 
In the Ara myth, these spirits are called the gods of Semira- 
mis; also in a true and realistic story of the fourth century 
about the murder of Mushegh Mamigonian, the commander of 
the Armenian king’s forces.°* ‘ His family could not believe 
in his death . . . others expected him to rise; so they sewed 
the head upon the body and they placed him upon a tower, 
saying, ‘ Because he was a brave man, the Arlez will descend 
and raise him.’?” Presumably their name is Armenian, and 
means “ lappers of brave men,” or “ lappers of Ava,” *’ or even 
“ ever-lappers.” They were invisible spirits, but they were de- 
rived from dogs.** No one ever saw them. Evidently the 
dogs from which they were supposed to have descended were 
ordinary dogs, with blood and flesh, for Eznik wonders how 
beings of a higher spiritual order could be related to bodily 
creatures. The Arlez were imagined to exist in animal form 
as dogs.” 



The Armenians believed also in the existence of chimeras 
by the name of Hambaris or Hambarus, Jushkapariks (Vush- 
kapariks), Pais, and sea-bulls, all of which are manifestly of © 
Persian provenience. Yet the nature and habits of these beings 
are hidden in confusion and mystery. 

The Hambarus are born and die. They appear to men as- 
suming perhaps different forms like the Devs and Pasviks. 
They. are probably feminine beings with a body, living on land 
and particularly, in desert places or ruins. Von Stackelberg 
thinks that the word Hambaruna means in Persian, “ house- 
spirits.” This is possibly justified by the shorter form, Anbar, 
which may convey the sense of the falling of a house or wall; 
so the original Hambaru may be interpreted as a ghostly, inhabi- 
tant of a deserted place. The word may also mean “ beautiful ” 
or even “a hyena.” An old Armenian dictionary defines it as 
Charthon (?) if it lives on land, and as “ crocodile,” if it lives 
in water. But the oldest authorities, like the Armenian version 
of the Bible and Eznik, consider the Hambarus as mythologi- 
cal beings. Threatening Babylon with utter destruction Isaiah 
(Armenian version, xiii. 21-22) says, “There shall the wild 
beasts rest and their houses shall be filled with shrieks. There 
shall the Hambarus take their abode and the Devs shall dance 
there. The Jushkapariks shall dwell therein and the porcu- 
pines shall give birth to their little ones in their palaces.” 
Hambaru here and elsewhere is used to render the oeupyy 
(siren) of the Septuagint.” 

Another chimerical being was the Jushkaparik or Vushka- 
parik, the Ass-Pairika, an indubitably Persian conception about 
which the Persian sources leave us in the lurch. Its name 
would indicate a half-demoniac and half-animal being, or a 
Pairika (a female Dev with amorous propensities) that ap- 
peared in the form of an ass and lived in ruins. However 


Eznik and the ancient translators of the Bible use the word 
through a hardly justifiable approximation to translate 
’Ovoxévravpos, the ass-bull of the Septuagint (Isaiah xiii. 
22, Xxxiv. 11, 14). According to Vahram Vardapet (quoted 
by Alishan) the Jushkaparik was imagined, in the middle ages, 
as a being that was half-man and half-ass, with a mouth of 
brass. Thus it came nearer the conception of a centaur, which 
word it served to translate in Moses of Khoren’s history. 
Sometimes also to make the confusion more confounded, it is 
found in the sense of a siren and as a synonym of Hambaru. 

We are completely in the dark in regard to the Pais which 
boasted human parenthood (presumably human mothers). 
There were those in Eznik’s time who asserted that they had 
seen the Pais with their own eyes. The old Armenians spoke 
also of the Man-Pai.* The Pais seem to be a variety of the 

The case is not so hopeless with the sea-bull, a chimerical 
monster which propagated its kind through the cow, somewhat 
after the manner of the sea-horses of Sinbad the Sailor’s first 
voyage. Men asserted that in their village the sea-bull as- 
saulted cows and that they often heard his roaring. We can 
well imagine that immediately after birth, the brood of the 
monster betook themselves to the water, like the sea-colts of 
the Arabian Nights’ story which we have just mentioned.” 
But this sea-bull may also recall the one which Poseidon sent 
to Minos for a sacrifice and which was by the wise king un- 
wisely diverted from its original purpose and conveyed to his 
herds, or the one which, on the request of Theseus, Poseidon 
sent to destroy Theseus’ innocent son, Hippolytus. 

Another such chimeric monster, but surely not the last of 
the long list, was the elephant-goat (phlachal).” 


OTHING certain of the old Armenian cosmogony has 
survived and we may well doubt they had any, seeing 
that a definite cosmogony is not an integral part of Indo-Euro- 
pean mythology. The early Christian writers, as Agathangelos 
and Eznik, often explain how God established the earth on 
“ nothing,” which they call the Syrian view. They maintain 
this against those who, according to the more general Semitic 
(Biblical etc.) view, teach that the earth was founded on a 
watery abyss. Only in modern Armenian folklore do we hear 
about the primzval ox or bull upon whose horns the world was 
set and which causes earthquakes by shaking his head whenever 
he feels any irritation." Agathangelos conceives the heavens as 
a solid cube hanging on nothing, and the earth “ compactly 
formed and provided with a thick bottom, standing on noth- 
ing.” For all the Armenian authors the earth stands firm and 
is practically the whole of the world. The star-spangled 
heaven upon which transparent spheres were sometimes sup- 
posed to be revolving, was of little consequence. 

Whether the early Armenians had a distinct cosmogony or 
not we find that in the Zoroastrian stage of their religion, 
they held the world and all that is therein to be the work of 
Aramazd, who, by Agathangelos, is plainly called the creator 
of heaven and earth. The invisible world for them was 
thickly populated with occult powers, gods, angels (Hreshtak, 
from the Persian firishtak, “ messenger ”’), spirits, demons and 
demoniac monsters of many kinds. Human life, its events 
and end, were predestined either by divine decrees (Hraman, 


Pers. Farman) which were unchangeable and unerring, or 
through their mysterious connection with stars, constellations, 
and the zodiacal signs. We do not know positively, but it 
is very likely, that the stars were thought to be the fravashi 
(double, the external soul or self) of human beings. In 
modern folklore whenever a shooting star drops, a human 
being dies. In a word, the old Armenians were thorough- 
going fatalists. This view of life was so deeply rooted, and 
proved so pernicious in its effects, that the early Christian 
writers strenuously endeavored to destroy it by arguments 
both theological and practical. 

Man was composed of a body (marmin) and a soul (hogi 
or shunch, “breath,” Wuyy). Uru, the Iranian urva, may 
have originally been used also in the sense of soul, but it finally 
came to mean a phantom or a ghostly appearance. Ghosts were 
called urvakan, i.e., ghostly creatures. That these spirits re- 
ceived a certain kind of worship is undeniably attested by the 
old word urvapast, “ ghost-worshippers,” applied by Agathan- 
gelos to the heathen Armenians. The linguistic evidence shows 
that originally the soul was nothing more than “ breath,” al- 
though this conception was gradually modified into something 
more personal and substantial. It was never called a “ shade,” 
but in Christian times it was closely associated with light, a 
view which has a Zoroastrian tinge. Death was the separation 
or rather extraction of the soul — a more or less subtile mate- 
rial, from the body, through the mouth. This has always been 
conceived as a painful process, perhaps owing to the belief that 
the soul is spread through the whole body. The “ soul- 
taking ” angel and the “ writer” * are nowadays the princi- 
pal actors in this last and greatest tragedy of human life. After 
death the soul remains in the neighbourhood of the corpse until 
burial has taken place. The lifeless body usually inspires awe 
and fear. It is quickly washed and shrouded, and before and 
after this, candles and incense burn in the death-room, perhaps 


not so much to show the way to the disembodied and confused 
soul (Abeghian) as to protect the dead against evil influences. 
They may also be a remnant of ancestor-worship, as the Sat- 
urday afternoon candles and incense are. Death in a home 
necessitates the renewal of the fire, as the presence of the dead 
body pollutes the old one. In ancient times the weeping over 
the dead had a particularly violent character. All the kinsmen 
hastened to gather around the deceased man. The dirge- 
mothers, a class of hired women, raised the dirge and sang his 
praises. The nearest relatives wept bitterly, tore their hair, cut 
their faces and arms, bared and beat their chests, shrieked and 
‘reproached the departed friend for the distress that he had 
caused by his decease. It is very probable that they cut also 
their long flowing hair as a sign of mourning, just as the monks, 
who, technically speaking, are spiritual mourners (abena, 
from the Syriac abhila), did, at the very beginning of their tak- 
ing the ecclesiastical orders. The dead were carried to their 
graves upon a bier. We have no mention whatever of crema- 
tion among the Armenians. On the open grave of kings and 
other grandees a large number of servants and women com- 
mitted suicide, as happened at the death of Artaxias, to the 
great displeasure of his ungrateful son, Artavasd. The forti- 
fied city of Ani in DaranaXi contained the mausoleums of the 
Armenian kings. These were once opened by the Scythians, 
who either expected to find great treasures in them or intended 
by this barbarous method to force a battle with the retreating 

The hankering of the spirits for their ancient home and their 
“ wander-lust ” are well known to the Armenians. The many 
prayers and wishes for the “ rest ” of the departed soul, as well 
as the multitudinous funeral meals and food-offerings to the 
dead, show the great anxiety with which they endeavored to 
keep the soul in the grave. The gravestones were often made 
in the form of horses and lambs, which perhaps symbolized 


the customary sacrifices for the dead, and even now they often 
have holes upon them to receive food and drink offerings. 
Even the rice-soup in which the pitaras (ancestral souls) of the 
ancient Indians (Hindus) delighted is recalled by the present 
of rice which in some localities friends bring to the bereaved 
house on the day following the burial. 

Like the Letts, Thracians, Greeks, and many other peoples, 
the Armenians also passed from a wild sorrow to a wilder joy 
in their funeral rites. This is proved by the boisterous revels 
of ancient times around the open grave, when men and women, 
facing each other, danced and clapped hands, to a music which 
was produced by horns, harps, and a violin.* There was and 
is still a regular funeral feast in many places.° 

It is very difficult to give a clear and consistent description 
of the Armenian beliefs in regard to life after death. There 
can be no doubt that they believed in immortality. But origi- 
nally, just as in Greece and other lands, no attempt was made 
to harmonize divergent and even contradictory views, and con- 
tact with Zoroastrianism introduced new elements of confusion. 
The ordinary Armenian word for grave is gerezman, which 
is nothing else but the Avestic garo-mmana, “ house of praise,” 
i.e., the heavenly paradise as the place of eternal light, and as 
the happy abode of Ahura Mazda.° The use of this important 
word by the Armenians for the grave may be simply a euphe- 
mism, but it may also be expressive of an older belief in 
happiness enjoyed or torture suffered by the soul in the grave, 
very much like the foretaste of paradise or hell which is al- 
lotted to the Mohammedan dead, according to their deserts. 
If this be the case, the departed soul’s main residence is the 
grave itself in the neighbourhood of the body. This body it- 
self is greatly exposed to the attack of evil spirits. 

There are also marked traces of a belief in a Hades. The 
Iranian Spenta Armaiti (later Spentaramet), “the genius of 
the earth,” occurs in Armenian in the corrupt form of Santara- 


met and only in the sense of Hades or Hell. The Santaramet- 
akans are the dwellers in Santaramet, i.e. the evil spirits. Even 
the Avesta betrays its knowledge of some such older and pop- 
ular usage when it speaks of the “darkness of Spenta Ar- 
maiti.”‘ The earth contained Hades, and the spirit of the 
earth is naturally the ruler of it. Nor is this a singular phe- 
nomenon, for the earth goddesses and the vegetation gods in 
Western Asia and in the Graeco-Roman world have this indis- 
pensable relation to the underworld. Demeter the Black of 
Arcadia, or her daughter and duplicate, Persephone, forms the 
reverse side of Demeter, the beautiful and generous. Sabazios 
(Dionysos) in the Thracian world was also an underworld ruler 
(as Zalmoxis?). The Armenian language possesses also the 
word owydn as the name of the ruler of Hades. This is 
clearly Aidonceus, or Hades. But it is difficult to ascertain 
whether it is an Armenized form or a cognate of these Greek 
names. | | | 

Another word which the Armenian Old Testament con- 
stantly uses in the sense of Hades is Dzokh, from the Persian 
Duzakh, used for Hell. However, as the Christian expression 
gayank, “ station,” came into use for the place where, according 
to the ancient Fathers of the church, the souls gather and wait 
in a semi-conscious condition for the day of judgment, both 
Santaramet and Dzokh became designations of Hell, if indeed 
this had not already happened in heathen times. 

There is some uncertainty in regard to the location of Hades. 
It may be sought inside the earth at the bottom of or, perhaps, 
below the grave. But, on the other hand, a saying of Eznik 
about the wicked who have turned their faces towards the West, 
although directly alluding to the location of the Christian Hell 
and devils, may very well be understood also of the pagan 
Hades. For we know that Hell is a further development of 
Hades, and that the Babylonians, the Greeks, and the Egyp- 
tians all sought Hades, sometimes in the earth, but more usu- 


ally in the West. For all of them the setting sun shone upon 
the world of the dead. And we have already seen how a bit 
of modern Armenian folklore calls the setting sun, “ the por- 
tion of the dead.” * The life led in the grave or in Hades, 
however sad and shadowy, was held to be very much like the 
present. The dead needed food, servants, etc., as the food 
offerings as well as the compulsory or voluntary suicides at the 
graves of kings clearly show. 

The Armenian accounts of the end of the world are based 
directly upon the Persian. First of all, the people knew and 
told a popular Persian story about Azdahak Byrasp (AZda- 
hak with the 10,000 horses). According to this version AZda- 
hak Byrasp was the ancestor of the first ruler of the Persians. 
He was a communist and a lover of publicity. For him noth- 
ing belonged to any one in particular and everything must be 
done in public. So he began his career with a perfidious but 
ostentatious goodness. Later he gave himself to astrology and 
he was taught magic by a familiar (?) evil spirit, who kissed 
his shoulders, thus producing dragons on them, or changing 
Azdahak himself into a dragon. Now Azdahak developed an 
inordinate appetite for human flesh and for spreading the lie. 
Finally Hruden (Thraetona, Feridun) conquered and bound 
him with chains of brass. While he was conducting him to 
Mount Damavand, Hruden fell asleep and allowed Azdahak 
to drag him up the mountain. When he awoke he led Azda- 
hak into a cave before which he stood as a barrier preventing 
the monster from coming out to destroy the world.’ 

But both among the Armenians and among their northern 
neighbours, there arose local versions of this Zoroastrian myth, 
in which the traditional Azdahak yielded his place to native 
heroes of wickedness and the traditional mountain was changed 
into Massis and Alburz. In old Armenia the dreaded monster 
was Artavazd, the changeling son of King Artaxias. At the 
burial of his father, when a multitude of servants and wives 


and concubines committed suicide (or were slain?) on the 
grave, the ungrateful and unfeeling son complained and said: 
“To! Thou hast gone and taken the whole Kingdom with 
thee. Shall I now rule over ruins? ” Angered by this re- 
proach, Artaxias made answer from the grave and said: 

When thou goest a-hunting 

Up the venerable Massis 

May the Kaches seize thee 

And take thee up the venerable Massis. 

There mayst thou abide and never see the light. 

In fact, shortly after his accession to the throne, when he 
went out to hunt wild boars and wild asses, he became dizzy 
and falling with his horse down a precipice, disappeared. The 
people told about him that he was chained in a cave of Massis 
with iron fetters which were constantly gnawed at by two dogs. 
When they are broken he will come out to rule over the world 
or to destroy it. But the noise of the blacksmith’s hammer on 
the anvil strengthens those chains; therefore, even in Christian 
times, on Sundays and festival days, the blacksmiths struck 
their hammers on the anvil a few times, hoping thereby to pre- 
vent Artavazd from unexpectedly breaking loose upon the 

It is also worth noting that the story about the serpents 
standing upon the shoulders of Azdahak and teaching him 
divination was told in Greek Mythology, of the blind Melam- 
pos and possibly of Cassandra and her clairvoyant sister, while 
the Armenians of the fourth century of our era asserted it of 
the wicked King Pap, whose fame for magic had reached even 
the Greek world. 

Any story about a catastrophic end of the world may reason- 
ably be followed by the description of a last judgment and of 
a new heaven and a new earth. But unfortunately the old 
records completely break down on this point. The old Arme- 


nian knows the Persian word ristaxez, “resurrection,” as a 
proper name (Aristakes). Modern Armenian folk-lore has a 
vivid picture of the ¢imvat-bridge which it calls the hair- 
bridge.*° There is the word “kingdom” for the heavenly 
paradise which is called also drakht (from the Persian dirakht, 
“ tree”). The picture lacked neither fire nor Devs for the tor- 
ments of the evil doers, while Santaramet and Dzokh, once 
meaning Hades, had also acquired the meaning of Hell. But 
out of these broken and uncertain hints we cannot produce 
a connected picture of the Armenian conception of the events 
which would take place when the world came to an end. 
Christian eschatology, thanks to its great resemblance to the 
Zoroastrian, must have absorbed the native stories on this 
subject. However, as a branch of the Thracian race, the Ar- 
menians must have had a strong belief in immortality and 
brought with them a clear and elaborate account of the future 
world such as we find in Plato’s myth of Er.” 




Sometime Scholar and Fellow of Newnham College, Cambridge 
Professor of Swahili and Bantu Languages, University of London 

aes. 2. COW. 


~~ Go, little Book, and pass to Kambalu 

Greet him who dwells beside the Peaceful Gate, 
Hard by the sheep-mart, in the ancient town. 

May \Peace be his, and happy springs renew 

Earth’s beauty, marred by foolish strife and hate: — 
On his fair garth sweet dews glide gently down. 

He loves the ancient lore of Chou and Han 

And eke the science of the farthest West; 

High thought he broods on ever — yet maybe 

He will not grudge an idle hour, to scan 

These childlike dreams —these gropings for the Best 
Of simple men beyond the Indian sea. 


HERE may perhaps be an impression in the minds of 
most readers that Africa, with its practically unwritten 
languages and comparatively undeveloped religious ideas, can 
have little or nothing which can properly be described as myth- 
ology, or at any rate that the existing material is too scanty to 
justify a volume on the subject. 

I must confess that, until I actually undertook the work, I 
had no conception of the enormous amount of material that 
is in fact available — a great deal of it in German periodicals 
not always readily accessible. The limitations of time, space, 
and human faculties have prevented my making full use of 
these materials: I can only hope to supply clues which other in- 
vestigators may follow upif I cannot doso. I intend, however, 
should I live long enough, to work out in detail some of the 
subjects here presented in a very imperfect sketch — for in- 
stance, the distribution of the Chameleon-myth in Africa; 
the “Exchanges” story (fresh material having come to 
hand since I wrote the article in the African Monthly, 1911); 
the Swallower-myth as exemplified in Kholumolumo of 
the Basuto and its various African modifications; and several 

I have not attempted to state any theories or to work out 
comparisons with any folklore outside Africa, though here 
and there obvious parallels have suggested themselves. Any 
approaches to theorising —such as the occasional protests I 
have felt compelled to make against the assumption that simi- 
larity necessarily implies borrowing — must be regarded as 
merely tentative. 


Since completing the chapter on the “ Origin of Death,” 
I have found among my papers a Duruma Chameleon-story 
(kindly supplied to me in MS., with interlinear translations 
into Swahili, by Mr. A. C. Hollis), which is so interesting that 
I may perhaps be excused for inserting it here. The Duruma 
are one of the so-called “ Nyika” tribes living inland 
from Mombasa, neighboured on the east by the Rabai and 
on the southwest (more or less) by the Digo: they have not 
been very fully studied up to the present. The legend is as 

When man was first made, the Chameleon and the Lizard 
(dzonzoko or gae — called in the Swahili translation mjusika- 
firi) were asked their views about his ultimate fate. The Cha- 
meleon answered: “ I should like all the people to live and not 
to die,” while the dzonzoko said: “I wish all people to die.” 
The matter was settled by the two running a race, a stool (chiti) 
being set up as the goal; the one who reached it first was to have 
his desire granted. As might be expected, the Lizard won, and 
ever since, the Chameleon walks slowly and softly, grieving 
because he could not save men from death. 

The mention of the stool is curious, because it affords a point 
of contact with a Chameleon-story of a widely different type, 
current both in East and West Africa, but hitherto, so far as I 
am aware, not much noticed by folklorists. It seems to be an 
independent form of the idea contained in the well-known 
Hare and Tortoise race. Pre-eminence among the animals is 
to be decided by a race to a stool (the chief’s seat of honour): 
the Dog thinks he has won, but the Chameleon gets in first by 
clinging to his tail and leaping in front of him at the last mo- 
ment. Of course this folklore tale has, so far as one can see, 
nothing to do with the older myth. 

The author desires to express her most cordial thanks to all 
who have contributed to the embellishment of this volume: 
in the first place to Miss Alice Woodward for her beautiful 


drawings; then to Messrs. E. Torday, P. Amaury Talbot, and 
F. W. H. Migeod, for the use of original photographs; and to 
the Clarendon Press for permitting the reproduction of plates 
from Bushman Paintings copied by Miss M. H. Tongue. 


ScHooL, or OrtENTAL StuptEs 
Lonpon, January 23, 1922 


O TREAT the mythology of a whole continent is a task 

_ not to be lightly undertaken. In the case of Africa, 
however, there are certain features which make the enterprise 
less formidable than it would be if directed elsewhere. The 
uniformity of Africa has become a commonplace with some 
writers; and, indeed, when we compare its almost unbroken 
coast-line and huge, undifferentiated tracts of plain or table- 
land, with Europe and Asia, we cannot picture it as divided into 
countries occupied by separate nations. This feeling is intensi- 
fied, if we confine our view to Africa south of the Sahara, as we 
shall practically have to do for the purposes of this book, which 
omits from consideration both Egypt and (except for incidental 
references) the Islamised culture of the Barbary States. 
Broadly speaking, the whole of this area (which we might de- 
scribe as a triangle surmounted by the irregular band extending 
from Cape Verde to Cape Guardafui) is occupied by the black 
race, and as, to the casual European, all black faces are as much 
alike as the faces of a flock of sheep, it is a natural infer- 
ence that their characters are the same. The shepherd, of 
course, knows better; so does the white man who has lived long 
enough among “ black ” people (comparatively few are black 
in the literal sense) to discriminate between the individual and 
the type." But, in any case, the inhabitants, even of the limited 
Africa we are taking for our province, are not all of one kind. 
We have not only the black Africans, but the tall, light-com- 
plexioned Galla, Somali, and Fula, with their Hamitic speech, 
the Hottentots, whose Hamitic affinities, suspected by Moffat, 
have been strikingly demonstrated in recent years, the little 


yellow Bushmen, who are probably responsible for the non- 
Hamitic elements in the Hottentots, and others. Moreover, 
there is a very distinct cleavage of speech — though not, per- 
haps, of race, among the black Africans themselves: between 
the monosyllabic, uninflected languages of the Gold Coast and 
the upper Nile, and the symmetrically-developed grammati- 
cal structure of the Bantu tongues. And, even taking the 
Bantu by themselves, we may expect to find great local differ- 
ences. As the late Heli Chatelain remarked, speaking of a 
writer who has not greatly advanced the cause of research: 

“The material on which he worked consisted of but a few 
volumes on South African tribes, and he often fell into the 
common error of predicating of the whole race, the Bantu, and 
even of all Africans, what he had found to hold true in several 
South African tribes. To this habit of unwarranted generali- 
sation must be attributed, very largely, the distressing inaccu- 
racy and the contradictory statements with which books and 
articles on Africa are replete.” * 

At the same time, a study of African folk-lore extending 
over many years has gradually produced the conviction that 
both sections of the African race, the Bantu-speaking and the 
Sudanic, have many ideas, customs and beliefs in common. 
Some of these may be due to independent development,’ others 
to recent borrowing, but there is a great deal which, I feel 
certain, can only be accounted for by some original community 
of thought and practice. This will appear, over and over again, 
in connection with various stories which we shall have to dis- 
cuss. But this is not all. We shall find that both Negro and 
Bantu have some elements in common with Galla, Masai, and 
other Hamitic or quasi-Hamitic peoples (I here leave out 
of account matter demonstrably introduced by Arabs or Euro- 
peans at a more recent date); and some very interesting prob- 
lems of diffusion are connected with tales originating, perhaps, 
in the Mediterranean basin and carried to the extreme south of 


the continent by the nomad herdsmen whom Van Riebeek 
found in possession at the Cape of Good Hope. The Hausa, 
whose linguistic and racial affinities have long been a puzzle, 
- have evidently been influenced from both sides — the black 
aboriginal tribes from whom they are in great part descended, 
and the pastoral Hamitic immigrants. 

Here let me remark in passing that I use the word “ aborig- 
inal” in a purely relative sense and without intending to ex- 
press any opinion on this point. Neither shall I attempt to deal 
with the vexed question of race. What really constitutes 
“race ” is by no means clear to me, nor, I imagine, can the ex- 
perts agree on a definition. Whether there is any real distinc- 
tion of race between Bantu-speaking and other (Sudanic) 
Negroes,* I very much doubt, and, in any case, the problem 
lies outside our present scope. 

As suggesting a common fund of primitive ideas in widely 
separated parts of the continent, let us take the case of the 
Zulu word inkata and the thing denoted by it. The word is 
also found in Nyanja as mkata, in Swahili khata (with aspir- 
ated &), in Chwana as khare (kxare), in Herero as ongata, 
and in similar or cognate forms elsewhere. Its original 
meaning seems to be a “coil” or “twist ”; but it generally 
stands for the twisted pad of grass or leaves used by people 
who carry heavy loads on the head. But the Zulu inkata 
has another and more recondite meaning. The inkata yezwe 
(“coil of the country”) or inkata yomuzi (“coil of the 
clan”) is both “a symbol of unity and federation of the 
people ” ° and an actual talisman to ensure the same, together 
with the personal safety of the chief. It is a large twist or 
cushion of grass, impregnated with powerful “ medicines ” 
and made with special ceremonies by professional ‘ doctors ” 
(izinnyanga), on which the chief, at his installation, has to 
stand. At other times it is kept, carefully hidden from view, 
in the hut of the chief wife. I do not know whether the inkata 

tyads nt eisrno? A 
es” oflt tidedat odw 
KA yd digstgotodg s 



A Somali, member of a typically Hamitic tribe, 
who inhabit the “‘ Eastern Horn of Africa.” After 
a photograph by Dr. Aders. 


has everywhere the same ritual significance: I strongly suspect 
that, where such is not recorded, it has either become obsolete 
or escaped the notice of inquirers, as — belonging to the most 
intimate and sacred customs of the people — it would be quite 
likely to do. But, in Uganda, enkata means, not only the 
porter’s head-pad, but the topmost of the grass rings forming 
the framework of the house and supporting the thatch. This 
“was of equal importance with the foundation of a brick 
house,” ° and, in building the house of the King’s first wife — 
the Kadulubare — had to be put in position with special cere- 
monies. Now, we find that, on the Gold Coast, where the 
head-pad is called ekar in Twi, it has some ritual connection 
with the succession to the chieftainship, while it (or something 
representing it) figures in some curious magical ceremonies of 
the Ibibio (Calabar), described by the late Mrs. Amaury 

Some other facts, interesting in this connection, will come in 
more fittingly when considering the numerous animal-stories 
of the “ Uncle Remus ” type, which are found in these areas. 

Whether one studies Africa geographically, ethnologically, 
or psychologically, one feels the absence of definite frontiers 
more_and more acutely as one goes on. We can recognize 
Abyssinia or Basutoland as as a separate country, just like Switzer- 
land or Denmark; but such cases are infrequent, and this ap- 
plies even more strongly to thought, belief and custom, than to 
physical configuration. Hence I have been forced to give up 
as hopeless the geographical or “ regional ” treatment of the 
subject, and shall attempt, instead, to trace a few main groups 
and ideas through the different strata of which the African 
population is made up. 

It will make clearer what I have been trying to say, if we 
picture these strata, not as regular, superimposed beds of hard 
stone, but as composed of different coloured sands, spread in 
successive layers, some of each penetrating those below 


and the lighter particles of the lower beds working up 
into the higher at every jar or disturbance. And here we come 
back to our starting-point. With all the diversity to be found 
in Africa, on which, as we have seen, it is necessary to insist, 
there is some indefinable quality inherent in the whole of it, as 
though the continent imparted its own colour and flavor to 
whatever enters it from the outside. The white man who has 
grown up among the Zulus very quickly feels at home with 
Yaos or Giryama, though he may know nothing of their lan- 
guage; and there is always a certain community of feeling be- 
tween “ old Africans,” in whatever part of the continent their 
experiences may have lain. 

Without wasting time in speculation on the past, we may 
now briefly survey the state of things as known at present. 
In the main, the area we have mapped out, from the Cape of 
Good Hope to Lake Victoria, and thence eastward to the Tana 
River and westward to the Cameroons, is occupied by Bantu- 
speaking tribes. North of these, the peoples of “ Negro,” 
“‘ Sudanic,” or “ Nigritian” speech extend in an irregular 
band from Cape Verde to the confines of Abyssinia, even to 
some extent penetrating the latter. The “ Eastern Horn,” 
which ends in Cape Guardafui, is inhabited by the Hamitic 
Somali, while their kinsmen the Galla, and other tribes, prob- 
ably more or less allied to them (Samburu, Rendile, Turkana, 
Nandi), spread out to the north, west, and south, their fringes 
touching on the areas of Bantu and Negro tribes — Pokomo, 
Kikuyu, Kavirondo, and others. 

But these areas are not completely uniform. In South 
Africa we have two non-Bantu elements, though both are now 
almost negligible except within a very limited area. The 
Bushmen, who would seem to have been the oldest inhabitants, 
are now practically confined to the Kalahari Desert and the ad- 
jacent regions, though a few (who have quite lost all memory 
of their own language and traditions) are to be found scattered 


about the Cape Province and Orange Free State. If they are 
the Troglodytes alluded to by Herodotus, whose speech was 
“ like the squeaking of bats,” they must either have at one time 
overspread the greater part of the continent, or migrated 
southward from the Sahara within historic times. The 
wretched Troglodytes were hunted with chariots by the Gara- 
mantes, and I remember being told of a Natal farmer (by one 
of his own relatives) that he used to talk cheerfully of having 
shot a Bushman or two before breakfast. Here is at least one 
additional point of resemblance. 

The treatment of the South African Bushmen by the colo- 
nists is one of the most disgraceful pages in Colonial history. 
Particulars may be found in G. W. Stow’s Native Races of 
South Africa — it is no part of our plan to give them here; 
but there is another point of which we must not lose sight. 
To speak of “ extermination ” in connection with the Bushmen, 
though only too true as regards a limited area of South Africa, 
is somewhat misleading when we come to survey a larger ex- 
tent of the continent. In the earlier stages of the Bantu migra- 
tion into South Africa, the relations between the Bushmen and 
the newcomers appear to have been friendly, and intermar- 
riage frequently took place. There is reason to think that some 
Bechwana tribes — e.g. the Leghoya, are largely of Bushman 
descent; and the same probably applies to large sections of the 
Anyanja, in the districts west of the Shire. The importance of 
this point will appear when we have to come back to it in the 
chapter on Creation-Legends. 

Whether the Bushmen have anything beyond their small 
stature and their mode of life, in common with the Pygmies 
of the Congo basin and other small races known or reported 
to exist in various parts of Africa, remains, at least, doubtful; 
but anatomists, I believe, hold that their physical evolution has 
proceeded on entirely different lines. Both, in any case, are 
interesting, not only as living representatives of a prehistoric 


age, but because, like a similar early population of Europe, 
of whom the Lapps may be a surviving remnant, they have 
given rise, as we shall see, to a great deal of mythology. 

We have already referred to the people whom we are ac- 
customed to call “ Hottentots”? — their own name for them- 
selves, when speaking of the whole people and not of any 
particular tribe (e.g. Nama, Kora), appears to be Khoi-Khoin 
— “men,” par excellence. Many Hottentot tribes have dis- 
appeared, not by actual dying out, but through losing their 
language and corporate identity and becoming merged in the 
mixed “coloured” * population, who speak only. “ Cape 
Dutch ” and a corresponding form of English. The Colonial 
records show that, in the 17th century, they were a numerous 
and flourishing people; and the researches of Meinhof and 
others prove that their speech belongs to the Hamitic stock, 
though it has assimilated the Bushman clicks and perhaps other 

In Struck’s language-map,’ the green Bantu ground is di- 
versified, in the Eastern Equatorial region, by a large irregu- 
lar yellow patch. This denotes the Masai, a nomad, pastoral 
people, lighter-coloured than the average Bantu, though 
darker than the pure Galla or Somali. At one time they were 
spread over seven or eight degrees of latitude — say from 
Mount Elgon in the north nearly to the Usambara hills in the 
south; but they have now, in the East African Protectorate, 
been confined to a reservation. The most probable theory of 
their language is, that it is Hamitic by origin (which would 
account for its possessing gender-inflection), but has been 
strongly influenced by contact with Bantu and Sudanic idioms 
(angenegert is Meinhof’s expression). The contact between 
their legends and those of the Hottentots is one of the most 
interesting facts which have come to light in recent years. 

Besides these, we have to do, in East Africa, with some cu- 
rious “ helot ” tribes — not exactly outcasts, though that desig- 


nation might apply to some of them, but vassals or dependents 
of stronger tribes who seem both to dread and to despise them. 
Such are the Dorobo among the Masai, the Wasanye among 
the Galla, the Midgan and Yibir in Somaliland. These are 
commonly hunters and have, in some ways, much in common 
with the South African Bushmen, though their physique 
differs widely from that of the latter, as we now know them. 
Their origin is still a matter of debate; but they are most prob- 
ably connected with certain “ outcast ” tribes still existing in 
Abyssinia. The Wasanye and Dorobo formerly had languages 
of their own, which a few old men still know, but the former 
now speak Galla and the latter Masai. The Wasanye and the 
Yibir and some, at any rate, of the rest, have an uncanny reputa- 
tion as sorcerers, and some of these helot tribes, e.g. the Tumal 
and the Il-kunono,” are blacksmiths. We cannot help being 
reminded of our own Gypsies and tinkers. The latter are — 
or were till recently — distinct by race as well as by occupation, 
and long preserved a language of their own, ascertained to 
be a prehistoric dialect of Celtic. 

Lastly, for we take no account of modern intruders, such 
as Arabs and Europeans, we have, in Abyssinia, a Semitic people 
who entered Africa at some unknown period — early as com- 
pared with the Arabs, but late, if we look back on the millen- 
‘niums of ancient Egyptian history. They share with the Copts 
of Egypt the distinction of being the only Christians in Africa 
whose existence is not due to European missions established 
since the sixteenth century. 

As this book deals with mythology and not with comparative 
religion, it would be out of place to discuss at length the dis- 
tribution and possible origin of the “ High God ” idea, which 
undoubtedly occurs in Africa and has been the subject of much 
heated controversy. I need only refer to the works of the 
late Andrew Lang, Pater Schmidt, Sir J. G. Frazer and others. 
Here it is enough to say that, in various parts, we do come 


across the more or less vague notion of a Supreme Being who 
is, so far as one can see, neither a personified Nature-Power 
nor a glorified ancestral ghost. Such may be Nyankupong of 
the Gold Coast tribes, Nzambi-of the Congo and adjacent 
regions, Leza, Chiuta and Mulungu in Nyasaland, Ngai of the 
Masai, and Wak of the Galla. But some of these are very 
difficult to discriminate from the sun, or the sky, or the first 
ancestor of the tribe; and experience seems to show that differ- 
ent notions are entertained by different individuals among the 
same people, or that the higher conception may have developed 
out of the lower. We shall see in the next chapter that it is by 
no means clear whether the Galla think of Wak as a Personal 
God or as the sky; that the name Mulungu is sometimes used 
for the spirits of the dead; and that while some Zulus spoke 
of Unkulunkulu in terms which suggest a vague Theism, others 
distinctly said that he was the first man, though no cult was 
paid him as an idhlozi (ancestral spirit), because he had lived 
so long ago that none could directly trace their descent from 

Bruno Gutmann, who has written some very interesting 
books on the Wachaga of Kilimanjaro, and clearly knows them 
well, insists that their deity, Ruwa, is not identical with the sun 
(i-ruwa), though called by the same name. But many of the 
customs and legends recorded by him certainly imply some 

While, therefore, it seems desirable to devote a chapter 
apiece to “ High Gods,” “ Ancestral Ghosts,” and “ Nature- 
Spirits,” we cannot undertake to keep these three classes of 
beings as separate as strict logic would require. 

The High God is not always — perhaps we might say, not 
often — thought of as a Creator in our sense. Even when he 
is spoken of as making man, the inanimate world seems to be 
taken for granted as already in existence; sometimes all animals 
are felt to need accounting for, sometimes only the domestic 



spear gf *73 


Types of the Wasanye “helot” hunting tribe, 
Malindi District, Kenya Colony. After a photo- 
graph by Prof. A. Werner. 


ones — cattle, sheep and goats. But the Deity does not always 
make man, who is sometimes described as appearing on the 
earth quite independently of him — in fact, one legend intro- 
duces him as inquiring where these new creatures have come 
from. (This same story, from Nyasaland, speaks of the ani- 
mals, in contradistinction from man, as “ Mulungu’s people,” 
apparently implying that he made them.) Very often, the 
progenitors of the human race issue, by a kind of spontaneous 
generation, from a reed-bed, a tree, a rock, or a hole in the 

The numerous myths which attempt to account for the 
origin of Death are frequently — but not always — connected 
with a High God. We also sometimes find Death personified 
under various names—e.g. in Angola as Kalunga, which 
elsewhere is one of the names for God. The Baganda call 
Death Walumbe, and make him a son of Heaven (Gulu). 
The interesting legend of his admission into this world will be 
told in our third chapter. 

But it is the Ancestral Ghosts, the amadhlozi of the Zulus, 
who may be called the central factor in Bantu religion. The 
same thing is largely true of the non-Bantu populations, and 
the ghost-cult probably coexists with and underlies the more 
highly developed religions, with comparatively elaborate 
mythologies, which we find, e.g., on the Gold Coast, and which, 
on a superficial view, would seem to deal mainly with nature- 
spirits. But here, again, it is extraordinarily difficult to draw 
the line. A nature-god may easily have started as the spirit 
of a dead man, like those “ old gods of the land ” who were 
worshipped by the Yaos along with their own ancestors and 
came to be looked on as the genii loci of particular hills, but 
were really former chiefs of the Anyanja who had been buried 
on those hill-tops. Similarly, in Uganda, Roscoe says: “‘ The 
principal gods appear to have been at one time human beings, 
noted for their skill and bravery, who were afterwards deified 


by the people.” In the case of such men, as of the Nyasaland 
chiefs just mentioned, the worship would extend beyond their 
own immediate relatives, to the whole clan or tribe, and this 
would in time help to obscure their original status. But the 
principle is the same. Without committing ourselves unre- 
servedly to the Spencerian view that all religions have their 
roots in the feelings — whether of awe, dread, or affection — 
aroused by the ghosts of the dead, we can at least be certain 
that many religious and mythological conceptions can be traced 
to this origin. 

The habitation of the ghosts is supposed to be underground, 
in a region sometimes conceived of as a replica of the upper 
world. ‘This is called, in many Bantu languages, Ku-zimu, 
which has the same root as one of the commonest among the 
many different names applied to the ghosts.” Earthquakes 
are often said to be caused by the movements of these subter- 
ranean hosts. We shall see that stories of people who have 
penetrated into this mysterious country and returned — or 
failed to return—are not uncommon. Among these are 
numerous variants of the tale called, in Grimm?’s collection, 
“Frau Holle,” which originally referred to the land of the 
Dead, though most European versions have lost sight of the 

Only the most recent ghosts are individualised, so to speak; 
it is quite natural that all earlier than the grandfather, or, at 
most, the great-grandfather, should fade into a vague col- 
lectivity: perhaps this is one reason why, in most typical Bantu 
languages, the word for “ ghost ” is not a personal noun. 
Some Yaos have explained “ Mulungu ” as the sum of all the 
spirits, “a spirit formed by adding all the departed spirits 
together ” — another illustration of the way in which different 
conceptions overlap and tend to melt into one another. But 
this rule is not without exceptions, for we come across heroes or 
demi-gods — and some beings who have to be classed with 


them, though they can scarcely lay claim to either appellation 
— who may possibly be personified nature-powers, but are more 
probably men known or imagined to have lived a long time ago. 
Whether they actually existed or not, matters little to our 
present purpose; but it is in many cases demonstrable that they 
are conceived of as human beings whose eminent services to 
their fellows or conspicuous qualities of whatever kind lifted 
them, after death, out of the common ruck of ghosts. Such 
are Haitsi-aibeb of the Hottentots, Hubeane of the Bechwana, 
Mrile of the Wachaga, Sudika-bambi in Angola — perhaps 
we might also count Kintu of Uganda. Closely connected with 
this part of our subject is the world-wide myth of the Hero- 
Deliverer, who rescues mankind (or as much of it as was 
known to the original narrators) from the stomach of a monster 
which has swallowed it.** Several very interesting forms of 
this are current in Africa. In some of them, the people’s 
ingratitude leads them to plan the hero’s death; and the clever- 
ness with which their various expedients are baffled forms a 
link with another group of tales, exhibiting the Hero as 
Trickster. To this group belong the adventures of Hubeane. 

We have seen that some gods are personified nature-powers: 
the sky, the sun, also rain, lightning, and thunder. Other 
things, too, without precisely ranking as gods, are recognized 
as personalities and sometimes have rites performed in their 
honor — the moon, certain stars, the rainbow. Then there are 
mountain-spirits (some of these, however, as we saw just now, 
were originally ancestral ghosts), river-spirits, tree-spirits, and 
a number of queer, uncanny beings who cannot be classed 
under these or any similar headings, but are called by Mein- 
hof “haunting-demons” (Spukdimonen).* These haunt 
lonely places —the deep shade of the forests, or the sun- 
baked steppe-country with its weird clumps of thorny bush. 
There is a considerable variety of these, and the traveller may 
often hear minutely circumstantial, sometimes even first-hand, 


accounts of them. But we shall find, as we go on, ample proof, 
if any were needed, that the mythopeeic faculty is still emphati- 
cally a living thing in Africa. 

Partly connected with these last are the “ Little People ” — 
Abatwa, Itowi, Maithoachiana, etc. — really the Bushmen or 
Pygmy aborigines whom the immigrant Bantu found in occupa- 
tion of the country and thought so uncanny, with their strange 
speech, their poisoned arrows, and their proficiency in arts un- 
known tothe more civilized newcomers, that they easily credited 
them with preter-human powers, while they at the same time 
detested and despised them."* Hence, while we shall have 
plenty to say about the myths and traditions of the real Bush- 
men, we shall also have to consider them in the light of purely 
fabulous beings. Among such demons and monsters the Izimu 
(Irimu) has such a conspicuous position in Bantu folk-lore that 
it has seemed advisable to devote a chapter to him. 

We have already mentioned the animal-stories which form 
so large a part of African folk-lore. These, no doubt, sprang 
from totemism — or rather, they originated in that stage of 
human life and thought which produced totemism. This, 
where it exists in Africa, has mostly passed into a state of sur- 
vival: among the clearest cases seem to be those of the Be- 
chuana, the Nandi, the Baganda, and the Twi (Gold Coast). 
But besides the general fact of these tales being products of 
the totemistic attitude of mind, we have a number of particu- 
lar instances which plainly involve the theory of the totem. 
Thus there is a well-known legend of the Gold Coast ** relat- 
ing how a Chama man married a woman who was really a trans- 
formed Jonito, and their descendants to this day abstain from 
eating that fish. There is another point of interest about the 
story: the husband (like Undine’s) ultimately loses his wife 
through the infringement of a tabu. This or some similar 
catastrophe occurs in a great many tales, both Bantu and Su- 
danic, and may, in some cases, be connected with totemism. 


The animals figuring most prominently in African folk-lore 
are the Hare, the Tortoise, the Spider, the little Dorcathe- 
rium antelope, the Jackal, the Chameleon, the Elephant, the 
Lion and the Hyena, with many others which are either less 
frequently met with or play less conspicuous parts. 

Transformations of men into animals and vice versa are 
common incidents in folklore and are believed in as actual 
occurrences at the present day. Were-hyenas, were-leopards 
and similar creatures lead us on to the subject of Witchcraft, 
without which no survey of African mythology would be com- 

Finally, while I have tried to confine myself to what is 
genuinely African, and therefore to rule out, as far as possible, 
all European and Arab importations, there are some recent 
products of the myth-making instinct, indirectly, if not di- 
rectly, due to outside influence, which deserve attention as 
interesting phenomena in themselves. I must say I do not 
know what to make of the very curious story from the Tana 
Valley which I give in the last chapter: I let it stand as com- 
municated to me. Others, while coloured by Moslem ideas, 
are yet, in their way, genuine products of the soil. Worth 
notice too, is the very ancient infiltration of Arab, Persian, or 
Indian ideas, which have become grafted on to and intertwined 
with the elements of indigenous folklore, and appear in the 
most unexpected places. This might be laid hold of as an 
argument by those —if any still exist — who think that all 
tales must have been diffused from one common centre; but 
in my view the process has been largely helped on by antece- 
dent coincidences. Thus we find a Jataka story at Zanzibar in 
which the Hare plays a part not found in the original, and al- 
most certainly added after its introduction into Africa. Then 
Abu Nawés, the jester of Bagdad, has become immensely pop- 
ular all down the East Coast of Africa, where his adventures 
are related, not only in Swahili, but even in Ronga at Delagoa 


Bay. But as you go south, you find that his real personality 
becomes obscured, and “ banawasi ” is used as a common noun, 
meaning a clever trickster, or even as a synonym for the Hare, 
with whom he is apt to get mixed up. 

Having thus sketched out our programme, we may return 
to our starting-point and enter on the consideration of African 

High Gods. 



T HAS been denied that such a conception as that of a 

“ High God ” exists in Africa, except where introduced by 
missionaries. The late Major Ellis," finding the name Nyanko- 
pong in use on the Gold Coast and supposed to denote such a 
being, came to the conclusion that he was “ really a god bor- 
rowed from Europeans and only thinly disguised.” Mr. R. S. 
Rattray,’ on the other hand, is “ absolutely convinced ” that 
this is not the case, one of his reasons being that the name oc- 
curs in sayings “ known to the o/d Ashanti men and women, and 
strange or unknown among the young and civilized commu- 
nity.’ The names (O)nyame, (O)nyankopong and several 
others “are used by the Ashantis to designate some power 
generally considered non-anthropomorphic, which has its abode 
in the sky (which by metonymy is sometimes called after it).” 

The High God is often, if not always, believed to live in 
the sky,— a point to which we shall come back later. But it 
is often difficult to make out whether the people conceive of 
him as distinct from the actual sky, and in the case of the Galla 
who told me the legend about Wak (to be given in Chapter 
III), I found it quite impossible. 

The story told about Nyankopong which, Mr. Rattray says, 
is “universally known among the older people,” is very 
curious, because it seems to suggest that, in an older stage of 
thought, Nyankopong may have been the actual sky. More- 
over, I cannot help thinking (though Mr. Rattray does not 


notice this) that in its original form this myth was an attempt 
to explain how Heaven and Earth came to be separated, they 
having been at first (as the Polynesians also believe) in close 
contact. There are traces of this myth elsewhere, as in the 
belief of the Giryama * that all things proceeded from the mar- 
riage of Heaven and Earth, or in the Herero legend recorded 
by Irle,* which we shall refer to again in the next chapter. 
But here Heaven is said to have been close to the Earth after 
a great flood — it is not stated whether this had always been so 
or was a consequence of the deluge, nor is it clear whether they 
were actually in contact and needing to be separated; the great 
anxiety of the Ovakuru (ancestral spirits) seems to have been 
lest men should climb into Heaven. This may possibly — 
though Irle thinks the flood story is a genuine native one — 
be an echo of missionary teaching. Otherwise, the conception 
in its crude form does not appear to be common in Africa, but 
Mr. Dennett thinks the idea of the Heaven-Father and the 
Farth-Mother underlies the ancient religion of the Congo 

This is the Ashanti myth above referred to, literally trans- 
lated by Mr. Rattray: ° “Long, long ago, Onyankopong lived 
on earth, or at least was very near to us. Now there was a 
certain old woman who used to pound her fufw (mashed yams, 
ete.), and the pestle used constantly to knock up against 
Onyankopong (who was not then high up in the sky). So 
Onyankopong said to the old woman, ‘Why do you always 
do so to me? Because of what you are doing, I am going to 
take myself away up into the sky.’ And of a truth he did 
so. . . . But now, since people could no longer approach 
near to Onyankopong, that old woman told her children to 
search for all the mortars they could find and bring them, and 
pile one on top of another, till they reached to where Onyan- 
kopong was. And so her children did so and piled up many 
mortars, one on top of another, till there remained but one to 



i 3 so ne : . ee | | swe $5 aud slic 7 
| emm9W .A .to1d yd edgsrgotodg 171A 


1. The Baobab at Kurawa, the sacred tree of the 

2. Galla huts at Kurawa. 

After photographs by Prof. A. Werner. 


reach to Onyankopong. Now, since they could not get the 
one required anywhere, their grandmother — that is, the old 
woman — told her children saying: ‘ Take one out from the 
bottom and put it on top to make them reach.’ So her children 
removed a single one, and all rolled and fell to the ground, 
causing the death of many people.” 

This incident, of the High God retreating into the sky after 
sojourning for a time on earth, recurs in many different parts 
of Africa. Sometimes, but not always, the reason given is the 
wickedness of mankind. The Bushongo of the Kasai country ” 
have a High God, Bumba, who, after completing the creation, 
prescribing tabus to mankind, and appointing rulers over them, 
retired to Heaven, and thenceforth only communicated his 
will, from time to time, in dreams and visions. 

It is by no means always the case that the High God is also 
the Creator; we shall return to Bumba in the following 

The name Jambi is used by some divisions of the same 
people, and various forms of this name are widely distributed 
through the south-western part of Africa. The Herero speak 
of Ndyambi Karunga * as distinct from the ancestral ghosts,— 
“he 1s in heaven above and not in the graves.” Nzambi is, 
in Angola,’ “ the name of one great, invisible God, who made 
all things and controls all things. . . . Tradition says men 
have offended him, and he has withdrawn his affection from 
them.” Among the Lower Congo people, Nzambi Mpungu 
means “ what we should call the Creator,” *® but Nzambi-si is 
the Earth-Mother. Nzambi Mpungu is described in Fiote 
mythology as “a human being —a naked man.” But this, in 
Mr. Dennett’s opinion, is an idea of late growth, suggested by 
the crucifixes and religious pictures imported by Romanist 

Mulungu is a name which, in several easily-recognisable 
cognate forms, can be traced from the Tana to Mozambique. 


From the Yaos (to whom, perhaps, it originally belonged), 
it has spread eastward to the Anyanja and other tribes, wholly 
or partly superseding the names of Mpambe, Chiuta, and Leza. 
Leza (Reza, Rezha, etc.) belongs to a group of tribes in the 
centre of the continent — the Luba, Bemba, Subiya, Ila, and 
several others. Leza is sometimes identified with the light- 
ning or the rain; but Mr. E. W. Smith» says of the Baila: 
“it is not plain that they regard rain and God as one and the 
same. . . . Leza is closely identified with nature, but, as 
Lubumba, the Creator, he is above nature, and, as Chilenga, 
he is regarded as the grand institutor of custom.” 

The Anyanja call the rainbow Uta wa Leza, “the Bow of 

Mulungu is a name with several perplexing connotations. 
The Rev. Duff Macdonald ** and Dr. Hetherwick * have both 
discussed the subject at some length. Certainly, as used by 
some natives, it seems to express the idea of a High God dwell- 
ing in the heavens. I have myself heard a native woman say 
of the thunder, Mulungu anena — “ Mulungu is speaking ”; 
and on two occasions, persons who had recently died were said 
to have “ gone to Mulungu.” In Nyasaland I never heard 
any expressions indicating that Mulungu might be the actual 
sky; but I did once hear it said that the offerings made to the 
manes of a deceased chief were “ for Mulungu.” 

I find, however, that the Giryama have the word, and with 
them its primary meaning seems to be the sky, though it is 
also used in the sense of “ God.” 

It does not seem possible that Mulungu can be, as Bleek *° 
thought, the same word as the Zulu Unkulunkulu: the latter 
is admittedly derived from the root kulw, which I cannot by 
any process of sound-shifting, get out of Mulungu, even with 
the help of the Mulungulu from Inhambane ** on which Bleek 
relied. I fail to find any later authority for this word, which 
is presumably meant to be Chopi — the nearest one gets to it 


in any recent books is Nungungulu. On the other hand, Mu- 
lungu is clearly the same as the Zulu wmlungu, which, what- 
ever may have been its original sense, now means “a white 
man,” and no doubt indicates that the first Europeans were 
taken for supernatural beings. It may be worth noticing that 
the languages which use the word in this sense do not possess 
“ Mulungu” as a divine name. This is the case with the 
Baronga of Delagoa Bay, who, however, believe that certain 
small apparitions called Balungwana (plural diminutive of 
Mulungu) sometimes descend from the sky during thunder- 
storms." These same people use the word Tilo, “ heaven,” to 
mean, not merely the visible sky but “a spiritual principle which 
plays a considerable part in the religious conceptions of the 
tribe.” ** Heaven is thought of as a place: one woman said to 
M. Junod: “ Before you came to teach us that there is an All- 
Good Being, a Father in Heaven, we already knew there was a 
Heaven, but we did not know there was any one in it.”*° 
Another convert, however, said: “ Our fathers all believed 
that life existed in Heaven.” But, adds M. Junod:* “ Tilo 
is something more than a place. It is a power which acts and 
manifests itself in various ways. It is sometimes called 
host (‘chief’? or ‘lord’) . . . but is generally regarded as 
something entirely impersonal.” They say: “It is Heaven 
which kills and makes alive.” It is associated with cosmic 
phenomena, especially such as are more or less abnormal and 
unexpected, such as storms and lightning; with the birth of 
twins, which is held to be something out of the course of na- 
ture; and with convulsions in infants — I suppose because these 
seizures are sudden and unaccountable. The complaint is 
hence called zilo, and, curiously enough, the Swahili call it 
“the bird,” believing it to be caused by an owl, that universal 
bird of ill-omen. The idea of the sky as a place accessible to 
human beings enters into many folk-tales, and we shall recur 
to it later on. 


We have mentioned the name of Unkulunkulu as used by 
the Zulus. It sometimes appears to denote a Spiritual Power 
and, like Mulungu, has been adopted by native Christians as 
the word for “ God.” Some natives, however, have quite 
distinctly stated that Unkulunkulu was the first man, though 
not reckoned as one of the amadhlozi, because he died so long 
ago that no one now living can trace his descent from him. 
We find that many “ First Ancestors ” are in a similar position 
and, conversely, that many “ High Gods,” if one comes to ex- 
amine them at close quarters, are really the progenitors of the 
human race (at any rate that part of it to which the narrators 
belong — these myths do not often concern themselves with 
anything more), or at least of their royal line. The ghost of 
a great chief, who is not the direct ancestor of the whole tribe 
and who is associated, through his grave, with some prominent 
landmark of the country, is a step nearer to godship than that 
of a common man. 

The Bapedi and Bavenda of North Transvaal have a “ god,” 
Ribimbi, who was also the first man, and his son Khudjana is 
said to have made the world; while the same probably applies 
to Nwali or Nyali of the Banyai.* Some tribes in East Africa 
give the name of their divinity as Were,*® and it seems to me 
by no means improbable that here we have a point of contact 
with Vere, the Pokomo ancestor whose story will be related in 
the next chapter. 

As to Unkulunkulu, we find Bishop Callaway’s ** native 
informants saying that “ he came out first, he is the whlanga™ 
from which all men broke off. . . . The old men say... 
he made the first men, the ancients of long ago. . . . What 
I have heard is this, that men sprang from Unkulunkulu, as 
if he made them because he existed before them.” 

He is distinguished from “the King which is above” 
(inkosi e pezulu), who would seem to be identical with the 
Thonga Tilo; for, of the latter, “ we say, he is above, Unku- 


lunkulu is beneath; the things which are beneath were made 
by him.” This fits in with the idea that the abode of the dead 
is under the earth. It is unnecessary to pursue this subject 
further, as it belongs rather to the domain of Comparative 
Religion than to that of Mythology; and the principal myth 
connected with Unkulunkulu—that of the Chameleon — 
will find a more appropriate place in the chapter on the “ Ori- 
gin of Death.” 

Imana of the Warundi *° is similarly envisaged as the Su- 
preme Being, the ancestor of the race and the Chief of the 
Ancestral Spirits (wmukuru yimizimun). 

The difficulty, not to say impossibility, of laying down ae 
and fast definitions, is illustrated in the case of Mukasa, said 
to hold the highest rank among the gods of Uganda,” though 
he is neither the Creator nor the First Man. He has a father 
and grandfather among the gods, but neither of these is Ka- 
tonda, the Creator, nor Gulu, “‘ Heaven,” who figures so con- 
spicuously in the story of Kintu, the First Man, as we shall see 
in our next chapter. In fact, we hear curiously little about 
Katonda, and Gulu, though said to “ command the elements,” 
has nothing like the importance of Mukasa —at any rate in 
the officially recognised religion.” Dr. Roscoe thinks it 
“certain that he was a human being who, because of his be- 
nevolence, came to be regarded as a god.” We do not learn 
whether any Baganda at the present day trace their descent 
from him. His legend represents him as appearing in a fully 
peopled world, whereas Kintu found it uninhabited, so that 
we should have to suppose him long posterior to the latter, if 
logical consistency went for anything in mythology. Mukasa 
had temples over all Uganda, and these, with the exception of 
the principal temple, on Bubembe Island, contained a canoe- 
paddle as his “ sacred emblem.” ‘No one knows for certain 
what was there; some say it was a large meteoric stone turned 
first to the east and then to the west according to the phases of 


the moon.” Neither of these objects is alluded to in the story 
told of Mukasa, nor can I find any explanation of their mean- 
ing in connection with him. 

Mukasa is said to have been the son of Musisi,** the god who 
causes earthquakes, though elsewhere his father is called Wa- 
nema. His mother, presumably a mortal, belonged to the 
Lung-fish clan: her name was Nambubi. Before the birth of 
Mukasa, she refused all food but ripe plantains of a special 
kind; how this affected the child is not very clear, since we are 
told that, when he was weaned he would eat nothing but the 
heart and liver of animals, and drank their blood. At a very 
tender age, he disappeared from his home and was found by 
the people of Bubembe sitting under a large tree on their 
island. They built him a house and appointed a man named 
Semagumba — whose descendants or representatives were 
down to our own day the priests of the Bubembe temple —to 
look after him. Some say that, after living there for fourteen 
generations, he died and was buried in the forest; others that 
he disappeared as he had come. The most noteworthy fact 
about his cult is that, unlike many other gods of the Baganda, 
he did not require human sacrifices. 

Whether or not the High God is consciously identified with 
the material Heaven, we constantly find him conceived as 
dwelling there. This material sky, of course, is a solid vault, 
above which is a country much like this familiar earth of ours. 
The Thonga* call the point wheré heaven touches the earth 
“ bugimamusi . . . Viz., the place where women can lean 
their pestles (which elsewhere must be propped against a wall 
or tree) against the vault.” Sometimes it is called “ The place 
where women pound mealies kneeling ... they cannot 
stand erect, or their pestles would strike against the sky.” 
Men have frequently attempted to scale this vault without suc- 
cess, as we saw in the legend of Onyankopong: it seems as if 
all collective efforts had been foredoomed to failure; but indi- 


viduals have occasionally been more fortunate. The idea 
seems a very natural one in the childhood of the world: the 
sky, which seems so near and yet is so inaccessible, even if we 
travel to the farthest limit of our horizon where it seems to 
touch the earth, would be one of the first things to draw the 
questioning mind of man beyond his immediate surroundings. 
The early school of mythologists, coming upon such tales, 
might have inferred either a “ Primitive Revelation ” — or 
rather, tradition — or an infiltration of European influence 
which would have introduced echoes of the Tower of Babel 
story, perhaps even of the classical Giant legends. There is, 
after all, a connection, though not precisely of the kind early 
mythologists supposed: all these tales alike have their roots 
in a Primitive Revelation — a universal instinct of the human 

There is a remarkable group of tales describing the adven- 
tures of human beings who (like Jack of the Bean-Stalk) have 
made their way into the sky; but before going on to examine 
these we must note the fact that, in a number of instances, the 
High God who now dwells in the sky is said to have retired 
thither after a more or less prolonged sojourn on earth. This 
may have been the case with Mukasa, though we are not ex- 
pressly told that he disappeared to heaven, nor do we know 
the reason for his disappearance. 

The Mbundu people, says Chatelain,” “ believe in one great, 
invisible God, who made all things and controls all things. 
But they confess they know very little about His character. 
Tradition says men have offended Him, and He has with- 
drawn His affection from them.” ‘True, this does not speak 
of an actual withdrawal from earth to heaven, but probably 
some older tradition of the kind underlies the statement. 

The Bushongo ™ say that Bumba, the Creator, whom they 
also call Chembe (== Jambi == Nzambi = Nyambe), after 
completing his work, prescribed tabus (I think it would not be 


too much to say, “ assigned their totems ”) to men, appointed 
three chiefs over them (from the first and greatest of whom 
the Bushongo Paramount Chief traces his descent), and then 
rose into the air and disappeared. Thenceforward he only 
communicated with men by revealing himself in dreams, and 
no real worship is paid to him. It may be noted that some tribes 
have a much more abstract and immaterial conception of him 
than others, who regard him as a “ magnified ” and (to some 
extent) “ non-natural man.” 

Here no blame is assigned to any one for Bumba’s disap- 
pearance. It is otherwise on the Zambezi,” where the Ba- 
luyi say that Nyambe once lived on earth, but afterwards as- 
cended into the sky “ for fear of men.” No explanation, how- 
ever, is given of this statement, and it does not seem to be borne 
out by another account, which is as follows: “ When Nyambe 
lived on earth, people said that he had fallen from the sky. 
When he returned thither, he climbed up by means of a spider’s 
thread. When he was up on high, he said: ‘ Worship me.’ 
Men, seeing him act like this (offended by what they con- 
sidered his pride), said: ‘Let us kill Nyambe” He 
escaped into heaven. . . . They planted long poles in the 
earth and fixed others on top of them. . .. When they 
had climbed to a great height, the posts fell, and the men who 
had climbed up on them were killed.” 

The Basubiya,** however, who call their High God Leza, 
while they say he went up to heaven by a spider’s thread, give 
no reason for his so doing, unless we are to connect a previous 
remark, that “ men were very much afraid of him,” with his 
action. Some tried to follow him up by the same route, but 
the thread broke and they came down. So they put out the 
spider’s eyes — an etiological myth to account for the supposed 
fact that he has none at the present day. Then they set up a 
scaffolding with the same result as in the case of the Baluyi. 
It would almost seem as if their purpose, like that of the 





eee yok 

to much to say, “* ame 
‘three chiefs over thames (isan the 
the Bushongo Parwexsunr Cried 
rose into the iF a ‘eappeared, . Th 
communicated with men by see UMnise reams, a 
no real worship is paid to him.. It may be noted chat some tribes | 
have a much more abstract and immaterial conception of him 
than others, — hima 5 * gid ind (to some | 
extend} “ non-natural even | ee 
steve two tlawe ts andigend-to-aup ane ae ee 
att as atherwie ca: ee Zavaexi,” where the: Ba- 
> Ay — once bved oa — bat afterwards as~ = 
the sky “ for fear of men.”- Ne exphaaain , OW s 
ven of this s some PLATE: ae not sen: =e be borne 
her account, saagh inate «Whew B yambe 
on eanth,Ap pes ceetapteiet fallen. from: the: sky. 
_ » Zulu ‘Girls, bc climsed wp by means of a spider's ~ 
en eas op on high, he said: * Worship —t : 
~ act hike this (offended by what they con- - 
pride), said: ‘Let a kilt — . = - 
heaven. . they planted iia | ae 
ixed others on top of them, ‘ee they | 
‘ed toa great height, the peste eel, ame she men w 10. = 
el 1] m were kelhed.” as : : j 
ubly a however, who call tea figh God § hia, io 
he went up to heaven Sy a apider’s thr nad, ar Ve : 
.» ‘or his so doing, untess we gre te connect a previous oe 
that “men were very reacts @fraud of him,” wit! hi: 
action. Some tried to follow tii: py the same 4 oute, but 
the thread broke and they came-aiammy ‘put out the 
spider’s eyes — an etiological am 
fact that he has none-at the § 
scaffolding with the same rege 
it would almost seem ae if t 






Ashantis, had been to bring Leza back, for the narrator goes 
on to say: “ They had formerly lived with Leza under a great 
tree, and here they performed their worship (after his depar- 
ture? ); they used to bring thither great numbers of goats and 
sheep so that Leza might have food. . . . One day, Leza 
met a man under this tree and said to him, ‘ Where do you 
come from?’ The man answered, ‘I am bringing four goats.’ 
Leza said to him, ‘ Go back to the village and say, “ Leza says: 
when you see a great cloud of dust, you will know that it is 
Leza.”’? One day they saw a column of dust which was fol- 
lowed by a great hurricane. The people gathered in the place 
of assembly. Leza arrived and stood under a tree, and they 
heard him say, ‘ You must pay honour to my house (as repre- 
senting me?). As for me, you will never see me again — 
I am going away now.’ ” 

Still, when people see shooting stars, they utter cries and 
say that it is their chief, Leza, who is coming to see how his 
children on earth are getting on. If this refers to human 
beings, we have a hint of the “ All-Father ”; and, in fact, the 
Wankonde * (at the north end of Lake Nyasa) address their 
Supreme God, Mbamba or Kiara, as “ Father.’ Mbamba is 
of human form, “white and shining,” and he, too, lives 
“above the sky.” Some kind of worship is paid to Leza by 
the Basubiya, but M. Jacottet thinks this — or most of it — 
is really directed to the ancestors, while Leza (or Nyambe) 
most probably represents the sun. The Baluyi expressly assert 
this of Nyambe,” and they are in the habit of saluting the ris- 
ing sun with shouts of, “ Mangwe! Mangwe! our king! ” But 
the same people may think of him sometimes as the one, some- 
times as the other; and it is not difficult to believe that the 
“ All-Father ” idea might have grown out of either — or both 
— of these notions. 

The Yao myth of Mulungu * is in many ways very sugges- 
tive. “ At first there were not people, but God and beasts,” 


Later on, the beasts are repeatedly called “ Mulungu’s 
people,” as though some special relation existed between them 
and him; yet he is not said to have madé them. The Chame- 
leon, who seems to have been in the habit of setting fish- 
traps — like the local population to-day — one morning found 
a man and woman in one of these. He took them to Mu- 
lungu who “ was staying down here before he went away to 
heaven,” and who was as much perplexed by the strange 
creatures as he, but advised him to “ place them there, they will 
grow,” and “man then grew, both the male and female.” 
All the beasts and birds were called together to look at them, 
but they too had nothing to say. The next day the new beings 
were seen making fire by drilling with a stick; they then killed 
a buffalo which they cooked and ate. “ And they kept eating 
all the beasts in this way,” and finally set the Bush on fire as 
well. “ Again Mulungu came, saying, ‘ Chameleon, I told you 
that you introduced puzzling beings on the earth here. See 
now, my people are finished. Now, how shall I act?? They 
actually saw the bush at their verandah burning with fire,” 
and had to run for it. “The Chameleon ran for a tree. 
Mulungu was on the ground, and he said ‘I cannot climb a 
tree! ? Then Mulungu set off and went to call the Spider. 
The Spider went on high and returned again, and said, ‘ I have 
gone on high nicely. You, now, Mulungu, go on high.’ Mu- 
lungu then went with the Spider on high. And he said, ‘ When 
they die, let them come on high here.’ ” 

That is, as the narrator explains, men are to go and be slaves 
to God “ because they ate his people here below.” In other 
words, Mulungu was driven from the earth because of man’s 
cruelty to the animals. 

One cannot help thinking — though of course the cases are 
in no way parallel — of the account given to Mr. Orpen * by 
Qing of the Bushman god Cagn: “ Cagn made all things and 
we pray to him. At first he was very good and nice, but he 


got spoilt through fighting so many things. . . . We do not 
know where he is, but the elands know. Have you not hunted 
and heard his cry when the elands suddenly run to his call? ” 
And the prayer to him is, “ O Cagn, O Cagn, are we not your 
children? Do you not see our hunger? Give us food! ” 
There is something very beautiful about this, and it is not sur- 
prising that it should have inspired one of Andrew Lang’s 
finest sonnets. 

It seems pretty well established that Cagn ( | kaggen in Dr. 
Bleek’s orthography) was originally the Mantis and therefore 
possibly a totem-god, but cela n’empéche pas, as we shall so 
often have occasion to notice. There is nothing to prevent the 
higher conception growing out of the lower. 

The Spider’s agency is noteworthy because, wherever i 
appears in Bantu folklore (except in some Duala tales), it is 
in this capacity of intermediary between heaven and earth —a 
very different character from the crafty and malignant Anansi 
of the Gold Coast. In a Congo story he brings down the 
heavenly fire, with the help of the Tortoise, the Woodpecker, 
the Rat and the Sand-fly: all have a share in carrying out the 
enterprise, but it is the Spider who takes them up to the sky.** 

The idea of a rope by which one could climb up to heaven, 
whether originally suggested or not by the spider swinging his 
thread, is found in a very old Zulu saying quoted by Calla- 
way: “ Who can plait a rope for ascending, that he may go to 
heaven? ” 

This seems to imply that the thing is utterly impossible, 
yet we find King Senzangakona (Tshaka’s father) credited 
with this very feat in an isibongo, which tells how he escaped 
in this way from the (presumably hostile) “spirits of the 
house of Mageba.” 

An old Thonga chant *° expresses the same hopeless longing: 
“Ah! if I had but a rope! I would go up to the heavens 
and be at rest! ” 


Thonga warriors used to shout to their enemies before a 
battle: “ Get ready your ropes and climb up to heaven! ” mean- 
ing, of course, “there is no other way by which you can 
escape us.” In a story given by Junod under the title “La 
Route du Ciel,” * a young girl who fears her mother’s anger 
is described as “ going away and climbing a rope to get to 
heaven,” as if this were the most natural proceeding in the 

The same object is sometimes attained by climbing a tree. 
In the Zulu tale of “ The Girl and the Cannibals,” ** a brother 
and sister, escaping from these amazimu, climbed a tree and 
“ saw a very beautiful country. They found a very beautiful 
house there; that house was green, and the floor was bur- 
nished. . . . But the earth they saw was at a great distance 
below them; they were no longer able to go down to it, for 
they feared the cannibals, thinking they saw them going about 
on the earth and seeking for food.” They found cattle and, 
it would seem, everything else that they wanted; they slaugh- 
tered an ox, ate the meat and made the hide into a rope, with 
which they drew up one of the cannibals — either fearing he 
might obstruct their return to earth, or simply for the sake of 
revenge, and “ did him in ” in the most callous fashion. They 
subsequently returned home by means of the rope. 

The Wakonyingo — dwarfs or elves supposed to live on the 
top of Kilimanjaro — are said by the Wachaga to have ladders 
by which they can reach the sky from the summit.“ 

Mrile, a hero of the same country, having a grievance 
against his family, sat down on his stool and sang incantations, 
and the stool rose into heaven with him. There he found a 
world much like the one he had left. He went on and came to 
some people who were hoeing. He greeted them, and asked 
them the way to the kraal of the Moon.** They told him to 
go on till he found some people cutting wood, and ask again. 
He did so and the wood-cutters directed him how to reach 


some men digging an irrigation-trench. These again sent him 
on to some people who were weeding, and these to a place 
where they were gathering in the crops. (One version says 
that all these in turn asked him to help them, which he oblig- 
ingly did.) The reapers told him to go on till he came toa 
place where the road divided. “If you take the lower road, 
you will come to people sitting at a meal.” He went on and 
was hospitably welcomed by them, but found that the food 
offered him was raw. So he took out his fire-sticks and showed 
them how to make fire and cook their food. They were so 
delighted that they presented him with large numbers of 
cattle and goats, and he returned home in triumph. It is a 
remarkable point, to which I know no parallel elsewhere, that 
the Heaven-dwellers should be unacquainted with the use of 
fire, though in Polynesia this is told of the people of the under- 

The same people have a very curious legend of a Heaven- 
tree. A girl named Kichalundu went out to cut grass and was 
swallowed up in a bog. Her companions heard her voice 
growing fainter and fainter, as she sank through the three suc- 
cessive realms of the Dead — we shall come back to these in 
a later chapter — till at last all was silent. By and by, a tree 
sprang up on this spot, and kept growing till it reached the sky. 
The herd-boys used to drive their cattle into its shade and play 
about in the branches. One day, two of them climbed higher 
than the rest, quite out of sight. Their companions called to 
them to come back but they refused, saying, “ We are going up 
to the sky — to Wuhuu, the world above! ”— and they were 
never seen again. People say that they went on beyond the 
Wahuu (the Heaven-clan) to the Waranjui, who live above 
the sky. Perhaps the human dwellers on “ middle earth ” 
are the first of the series to which these two orders of beings 
belong — the three corresponding to the three orders of ghosts 
recognised by the Wachaga. 


Two other remarkable traditions **° of heaven-dwellers be- 

long to the same district. A man and woman — said to be the 
ancestors of the existing Molama clan — came down from the 
sky and alighted on a certain hill. They said they had been 
sent down by Ruwa and were found to have tails, which they 
were afterwards induced to cut off. The other story concerns 
a being called Mrule (he appears to be quite distinct from 
Mrile or Nrile), who also came down from heaven and went 
first to the Masai, afterwards to the Wachaga in the Shira dis- 
trict. He had only one leg, so suggesting the half-men we 
shall discuss later on, and the people, being frightened by his 
strange appearance, refused to take him in or give him food. 
So he returned to heaven, and they regretted their unkindness 
too late.* 

We have referred to a Ronga tale about the “ Road to 
Heaven,” “* which is of interest in this connection. It is one of 
a very wide-spread group of stories, most of which, however, 
have their scenes laid in the underground regions of the dead 
and not in the country above the sky. They exhibit an unmis- 
takable relationship to the European tales of which we may 
take Grimm’s “ Frau Holle ” as the type, but the idea is so 
likely to occur spontaneously anywhere, that there seems no 
need to resort to any hypothesis of diffusion, or, at any rate, of 
introduction from Europe. Fiilleborn “ mentions a tale of this 
type from the Konde country, which he characterises as “ psy- 
chologisch recht unverstandlich ”»— probably because the ver- 
sion before him was corrupt, or imperfect in its details. 
Junod’s “ La Route du Ciel,” is evidently very far from being 
a primitive version; in fact, the reason for one of the most 
important incidents has been entirely lost sight of. It will 
therefore be better to begin with the variant given by Duff 
Macdonald under the title “ The Three Women,” * which 
itself is not perfectly clear throughout, and elucidate its diffi- 
cult points by comparison with others. 


“There were three Women with their children, and they 
went to the water. When they had reached it, one of them was 
cheated by her companions, who said, ‘ Throw your child into 
the water, we have thrown our children into the water.? But 
they had hidden their children under a tree.” 

There seems no point in this beyond a senseless and heartless 
practical joke, but a Chaga tale,” which begins quite differ- 
ently, probably suggests the right version of the incident. A 
chief’s son fetching home his bride puts her into a large honey- 
barrel and carries her over the hills on his back. On the way 
she hears the lowing of her father’s cattle and asks him to let 
her out, so that she may take a last look at them. While she 
is gone, a certain bird called kirindovo gets into the honey- 
barrel in her place, and the bridegroom, being unable to see 
behind him, thinks the girl has returned and fastens down the 
lid. The story, however, does not proceed on the usual lines 
of the “ False Bride ” incident, for the real bride is reinstated 
without difficulty, and the kirindovo (metamorphosed or not, 
for we have the usual vagueness about such matters) is rele- 
gated to the position of a secondary wife. When the head- 
wife has a child, the jealous kirindovo fabricates a pretended 
one out of a banana-stalk and throws it into a pool, telling the 
mother that by so doing she will get it back stronger and more 
beautiful. The motive for inducing the mother to drown her 
child is here quite clear. 

“So their companion threw her child into the water and a 
crocodile swallowed it. Then her companions began to laugh 
at her and said, ‘ We were only cheating you! ?”” The mother 
then “climbed a tree and said ‘I want to go on high, and 
the tree grew much and reached upwards.” She does not here 
say that she wants to find the dwelling-place of Mulungu, but 
this appears later. She meets some leopards who ask her where 
she is going, and she tells them, “I want my child; my com- 
panions cheated me and said ‘Throw your child into the 


water.” The leopards directed her on to certain creatures 
called nsenzi (which Dr. Macdonald takes to be birds), and 
they to the Mazomba (Masomba? — large fishes), who said, 
“What do you want, my girl? ” “ The girl said, ‘I want to 
know the way.’ The Mazomba said, ‘ Where to?? The girl 
said, ‘ The way to Mulungu.? The Mazomba said, ‘ Well, be 
strong in your heart.? The girl said, ‘ Yes, Masters, I under- 
stand.’ ” 

The woman is not asked to render any services to those she 
meets, but it is evident from what follows, that her civil an- 
swers to the leopards and the other creatures are counted to 
her for righteousness. When she reaches “ the village of Mu- 
lungu ” and tells her story, Mulungu calls the crocodile and 
restores her child. ‘“ The girl received the child and went 
down ” — we are not told how—“to her mother.” Her 
companions, when they heard what had happened, at once 
threw their babies into the water and climbed the tree. They 
gave impertinent answers to the leopards, msenzi, and Ma- 
zomba and even abused them. 

“ Then they came to Mulungu. He said, ‘ What do you 
want?’ The girls said, ‘ We have thrown our children into 
the water.’ But Mulungu said, ‘What was the reason of 
that?’ The girls hid the matter and said, ‘ Nothing? But 
Mulungu said, ‘It is false. You cheated your companion, say- 
ing “ Throw your child into the water,” and now you tell me 
a lie” Then Mulungu took a bottle of lightning and said, 
‘Your children are in here.? They took the bottle, which made 
a report like a gun, and the girls both died.” 

In “La Route du Ciel,” the opening, as we have seen, is 
quite different: it is a young girl, afraid of being scolded for 
breaking her water-jar, who climbs a rope to take refuge in the 
sky. Nothing is said about a baby, actual or prospective, and 
the girl’s announcement, on reaching “ the village of Heaven ” 
—‘] have come to look for a child,” is consequently somewhat 

chey to “the Maven (n Ma oe ee 

know the way.’ “The recast aa: © Where: to The gu 
said, ‘The way to Mulungu.” The Mazomba said, *Well,be 
strong in your heart.? The girl said, * Yes, —— T — 
— = 3 
e woman ‘is not asked to render ay vervices. to shah dis oe 
meets, but it is evident from what fag geen het civil an- 
the leopards and the other om lek ee Ooa eS 
righteousness. When she pes * rhe VoL a of Mo. 
’ and tells. her.story, Mulungu calls the crecedile and 
r child. “The eLearn the one and went 
ve i how + e Way to M Cae 
‘The Woman who wee ulu eee: 
hahies inte the water amd climbed ‘Gene They. 
| ¢ leopards, — and — 

to Mulunegn, its said, ‘What do you: 
said, ‘We hens thrown our children into 
‘vive said, “What at the dae 
hid the matter and said, “Aaa ae 

{tis false. You cheated ae 

cd into the water” ¢ 
wlungu took a beta ai a i 
:are in here.” They tim “a it 

un, and the girls both gaa 

ate du Ciel, a the Pe we 

ereakine her water- jar’, whe clini re 5 
my. Nothing is aad about a _ “ 
the girl’s macuincdinale on reaching “ the vill 

1 have come to look for a hile Dis 


perplexing. It becomes quite intelligible, however, on compar- 
ison with the Yao variant, which undoubtedly represents the 
older form. We might suppose the beginning to have been 
altered in order to point a moral for the benefit of wilful and 
ill-behaved daughters, but the world-wide recurrence of the 
motive is against this, and the probability is that two different 
tales have — perhaps purposely — here been combined into 
one. The final catastrophe is very much alike in both. What 
makes this view more probable is that the usual story of the 
half-sisters, of whom the ill-treated one is kind and helpful 
and gets rewarded, while the spoilt and petted one acts in the 
opposite way and comes to grief, is always, more or less con- 
sciously, connected, not with the sky above, but with the realm 
of the dead beneath. The girl in the original “ Frau Holle ” 
story falls into the well; the wife in the Chaga tale (where the 
combination of incidents is reversed) throws herself into the 
pool where her baby has been drowned, and both come to what 
is really, if not avowedly, the country of the ghosts. And the 
recollection of this persists, even when the exact nature of the 
journey has been forgotten. In the Sierra Leone variant,” the 
stepmother sends the child to the “ Devil,” to get the rice- 
stick washed, and the mysterious city where the Hausa place 
the “ Menders of Men,” ** seems to point in the same direction. 
In the other Hausa variant, “ How the I1l-treated Maiden 
became Rich,” the girls do not apparently leave the world of 
the living; but their goal, the River Bagajun, is presided over 
by a witch, and, on their way to it, they pass rivers of sour 
milk and honey. This may be some distorted recollection of 
a Hindu myth refracted through Islam, or may possibly belong 
to an older indigenous stratum of thought. 

In the chapter on “ The Little People ” I shall quote a 
Chaga story ** which belongs to the same type as these, but 
substitutes the top of Kilimanjaro for the sky, and the Wa- 
konyingo dwarfs for the Heaven-people. A remarkable point 


is that, as the latter seem, in the Chaga view, to be unac- 
quainted with the use of fire, the hero in this case instructs the 
Wakonyingo in protective magic. It is curious to compare this 
with the Pokomo tradition which represents the tribal ancestor 
as getting the knowledge of fire from a member of the aborig- 
inal race, the Wasanye. Some other tales of the kind will be 

more suitably discussed in connection with Ancestral Ghosts 
and the Abode of the Dead, 


HIS title seems preferable to that of “ Creation Myths,” 

for of the creation, as we understand it, we hear singu- 

larly little in Bantu legend. The earth, in most cases, seems to 
be taken for granted, as if it had existed from the beginning; 
and though, occasionally, we may hear of men being actually 
made, they more often just “‘ appear,” sometimes coming down 
from the sky, sometimes up out of the earth, sometimes with- 
out any attempt at explanation whence they came. Junod Says: 
“JT believe that the origin of man preoccupies the Bantu mind 
more than the origin of the world as a whole.” * So much is 
this the case that one almost feels inclined to wonder whether, 
when we find little more than the bald statement that Katonda, 
or Mulungu, or Nyambe made the earth, the sun, etc., this 
may not be merely the improvised answer to the question of 
some European pressing for information on a subject which 
had never previously occurred to his listeners. Duff Macdon- 
ald says:* “ The existence of the world itself is accepted as a 
fact not to be explained. But there are legends that explain the 
introduction of the sun, moon, and stars, clouds and rain, as also 
how mountains and rivers appeared on the scene.” The Yao 
divinity Mtanga (by some said to be the same as Mulungu) is 
described as pressing up the surface of the earth into mountain 
ridges and excavating rivers, and “ putting the country right.” ° 
It existed already and only needed shaping; moreover, the 
scene of Mtanga’s activities seems to be confined to the Yao 
country — the original mountain home of the tribe. Probably, 
when they had started on their migrations and reached the 


Chilwa plain, they felt the need of accounting for the differ- 

The Bushongo* have something more like a genuine cre- 
ation legend, of a very peculiar kind. I have not met with its 
parallel elsewhere in Africa. Bumba, the Creator, who is 
described as a gigantic white being in human form, existed 
alone in the beginning, in a universe where there was nothing 
but water. Some touches in this narrative, apart from the su- 
preme act of creation, are surprisingly suggestive of Genesis I, 
and but for the fact that the Bushongo were entirely un- 
touched by missionary influence, and that Mr. Torday was to 
an unusual degree independent of interpreters, one might feel 
somewhat suspicious. As it is, one may perhaps draw the 
moral that, without accepting the conclusions which have been 
or might be based on them, we need not be too incredulous as 
to the genuineness of Merker’s Masai traditions. 

Bumba, say the Bushongo, one day felt severe internal pains 
and, as a consequence, “‘ vomited up the sun, moon, and stars,” 
thus giving light to the world. As the sun’s rays dried up the 
water, sandbanks began to appear above its surface, but there 
was no life anywhere. Bumba then, in the same manner, 
produced eight living creatures which, in their turn, gave rise, 
with some exceptions, to all the rest. These were, the leopard, 
the crested eagle, the crocodile, a small fish (the parent of all 
other fish), the tortoise, the lightning (a beast like a black 
leopard), the white heron, a beetle, and the goat. He then 
produced men. Whether these included the three sons who 
now appear on the scene is not stated. The animals undertook 
to people the world, but it is not quite clear on what principle 
they did so; the goat produced all horned beasts, the beetle all 
insects, the crocodile all serpents and the iguana, the white 
heron all birds except the kite. Then Bumba’s sons took a 
hand. One produced white ants, which, apparently, are not 
counted as insects, and died in the effort; the second a plant, 


from which all vegetable life has sprung; and the third tried 
to bring forth new creatures, but the only result was the kite. 
Why the kite should thus be set apart from all other birds is 
not explained. 

The Bushongo, according to their own tradition, came from 
the far north, probably from the region of Lake Chad, and 
within historical times. This might account for the exceptional | 
character of much in the above legend. It is true that the name 
of Bumba (who is not only Creator but First Ancestor, whose 
direct descendants, the reigning chiefs, have preserved every 
link in their genealogy) is found among other tribes, such as 
the Baila. But the name is Bantu, and the Bushongo brought 
with them from the north a strange archaic, non-Bantu lan- 
guage which has nearly, if not quite gone out of use. 

Coming now to the conception of origin from trees or plants, 
we may link together the legends of the Herero, Zulus, and 
other tribes south of the Zambezi. I have not definitely 
traced it much farther north, unless we can count the belief 
of the Bangongo in the Kasai country ° that the Batwa pygmies 
came out of trees, and a vague account ° which I was, unfor- 
tunately, never able to check or get further light on, of some 
sacred tree from which the Wasanye in East Africa deduce 
their origin. 

The Zulus say: “ It is said that we men came out of a bed 
of reeds, where we had our origin.” * Some content them- 
selves with this general statement, others say that it was Un- 
kulunkulu who “ had his origin in a valley where there was 
a reed-bed (umhlanga) here on the earth, and men sprang 
from Unkulunkulu by generation. All things as well as 
Unkulunkulu sprang from a bed of reeds — everything, both 
animals and corn, everything coming into being with Unku- 

Elsewhere, the word used is whlanga,* a single reed (as 
distinguished from wmhlanga, a reed-bed). Callaway and 


Colenso ® both thought that these words are not to be taken 
in their literal meaning, but as referring to some “ Primal 
Source of Being.” Yet the former admits that the native who 
gave the account “ clearly understood by it a reed,” *° while 
adding that “ one cannot avoid believing that he did not under- 
stand the import of the tradition.” But comparison with the 
traditions of other tribes suggests that this, or something like 
it, was really the primitive belief, and that whlanga came to 
mean “source” or “ origin” because it was thought that 
mankind had sprung from a reed. The Basuto certainly 
thought so, and used to commemorate the belief by sticking 
a reed (or bunch of reeds) into the thatch of a hut where a 
child had been born.“ The Thonga vary between the reed 
(lihlanga) and the reed-bed (nhlanga): in the first version 
“ one man and one woman suddenly came out from one reed, 
which exploded, and there they were! ” In the second, “ men 
of different tribes emerged from a marsh of reeds, each tribe 
already having its peculiar costume, implements, and cus- 

The Herero believe in a sacred tree from which their 
earliest ancestors sprang. It is called Omumborombonga and 
has been identified by botanists as Combretum primigenum. 
The actual tree which produced the human race is supposed to 
be still in existence, in the “ Kaoko veld,” west of the Ndonga 
country and south of the Kunene River. Beiderbecke ** speaks 
almost as if he had seen it. ‘ There is nothing particular in 
the tree, unless it may be its looking old and antediluvian. 
The Ovaherero, in passing it, bow themselves reverently, 
holding in the hand a bunch of green twigs which they stick 
into it, or otherwise throw down at the foot. They also enter 
into a conversation with the tree, giving the answers themselves 
in a somewhat altered voice.” This presumably refers to the 
original tree: a note added by another hand tells that the 
Herero honoured all trees of the same species, saluting them 

figsrgotodg s 11th 


The Footprints of the First Man in Ruanda. 
(See Apperidix, page 375.) After a photograph by 
Captain Philipps. 


with the words: Tate Mukuru, uzera! “ Father Mukuru, thou 
art holy,” or perhaps rather “tabu.” “ Formerly the Ova- 
herero had such a reverence for the tree that they would not 
even sit down in its shade.” 

But it should be noted that only the Herero themselves and 
their cattle sprang from the sacred Omumborombonga. The 
“ Hill-Damara,” a previous population supposed to be Bantu 
by race, though speaking a Hottentot dialect, came out of a 
rock, together with goats, sheep and baboons.- Perhaps a 
double racial tradition explains the divergent accounts given 
by the Basuto;** the one most generally accepted is that men 
sprang from a reed-bed, but some say that they issued (to- 
gether with the animals) from a cave. The Anyanja believe 
that the first men came out of a hole in the ground at a place 
called Kapirimtiya, where their footprints and those of the 
animals are still to be seen impressed on the rock. This is 
said to be on a hill, or, according to some, an island in a lake, 
somewhere west of Lake Nyasa. A correspondent of Life and 
Work (the Blantyre Mission Magazine) *° was shown the al- 
leged site of this event in the Wemba country, “a conglome- 
rate rock, showing what the natives call footprints of a man, a 
child, a zebra, a horse, and a dog.” The horse, if not the re- 
sult of a misunderstanding, must be a comparatively recent 
addition. The legend may indicate that here or hereabouts was 
a centre of dispersion for the Nyanja, Wemba, and perhaps 
some other tribes; also it looks as if it had been inherited from 
that older stratum of the population which, as we have seen, 
was most probably absorbed. The Hill-Damara, who likewise 
came out of a rock, may represent the mingling of the advance 
guard of the Bantu immigrants with some Bushman tribe. 
We know this to have happened in the case of the Le- 
ghoya ** and some other Bechwana clans, and in the absence of 
direct proof I should think it probable that these clans were 
precisely those who did not hold the theory of the reed origin. 


Stow, however, says that in all Bantu myths of the origin of 
man — whether deriving him from the split reed or the 
fissure of a rock — the Bushmen are disregarded or taken for 
granted as existing already. Some of these “ traditions state 
that when their forefathers migrated to the south, they found 
the land without inhabitants, so that only the wild game and 
the Bushmen were living in it—evidently classing ... 
them together as wild animals.” * 

This reminds us of the Masai,‘* who say that “ when God 
came to prepare the world, he found there a Dorobo, an ele- 
phant and a serpent.” The Dorobo are a hunting tribe, who 
must have occupied the country before the Masai, and are now 
more or less in the position of vassals or serfs to them. The 
fact that not only the Dorobo but the elephant and the 
serpent are put on a different level from the rest of creation 
is highly curious. We are not told what kind of serpent this 
was, but it is clear that he was not, at any rate, intentionally 
harmful. The three lived together for some time and the Do- 
robo, by what means we do not learn, became possessed of a 
cow. After a time the Dorobo picked a quarrel with the ser- 
pent, whose breath, he said, affected him with a most unpleas- 
ant irritation of the skin. The poor serpent apologised very 
humbly, saying: “ Oh, my father, I do not blow my bad breath 
over you on purpose ”; but the Dorobo, though he said nothing 
at the time, waited his opportunity and killed the serpent with 
a club. The elephant, missing him, asked where the “ thin 
one ” was. The Dorobo denied all knowledge of him; but the 
elephant, who had no doubt come to her own conclusions as to 
his character, was not deceived. By and by, the elephant pro- 
duced a calf. The rains were now over, and all the pools had 
dried up, except in one place, where the Dorobo took his cow 
every day to drink. The elephant, too, used to come to this 
pool and, after drinking, lie down in the water, stirring up the 
bottom, so that the Dorobo, when he came, was much annoyed 


to find the water very muddy. He appears to have said 
nothing, but bided his time, till one day he made an arrow and 
shot the elephant. The young elephant, finding itself thus 
orphaned, said: “ The Dorobo is bad. I will not stop with him 
any longer. He first of all killed the snake, and now he has 
killed mother. I will go away and not live with him again.” 
So the young elephant went to another country, where he met 
a Masai, and, in answer to his questions, told him what had 
happened. The Masai seems to have been impressed by the 
Dorobo’s qualities, for he said: “ Let us go there; I should like 
to see him.” They went and found the Dorobo’s hut and saw 
that God had overturned it, so that the open door faced the sky. 
This part of the story calls for cross-examination, as, on the 
face of it, one would suppose this state of things to be a mark 
of displeasure at the Dorobo’s previous conduct, but, if so, it 
hardly seems consistent with what follows. For we hear, 
without comment or explanation, that Ngai called the Dorobo 
and said to him: “I wish you to come to-morrow morning, 
for I have something to tell you.” The Masai overheard this 
and played the trick which Jacob played on Esau by being on 
the spot first. But it is somewhat disconcerting to find that, 
when “ he went and said to God ‘I have come,’ ” Ngai does 
not appear to have noticed the difference, but went on giving 
him the instructions intended for the Dorobo. He was to 
build a large cattle-kraal and then go out into the forest till he 
found a lean calf, which he was to bring home and slaughter, 
afterwards burning the meat. Then he was to go into his 
hut —the Dorobo’s hut of course, though we do not hear 
whether it had been restored to its normal position — and not 
be startled or cry out, whatever he might hear. He did as he 
was told and waited in the hut till he heard a sound like 
thunder. Ngai let down a strip of hide from the sky, and down 
this cattle began to descend into the kraal. They kept on com- 
ing till the kraal was full and the animals were so crowded 


that they began to break down the hut. The Masai could 
not keep back an exclamation of astonishment, and came out 
to find that the lariat had been cut and no more cattle were 
coming down. Ngai asked him if he had enough, for he 
should certainly get no more, as he would have done, had he 
been able to hold his tongue. 

This is the story told to account for the fact that the Masai 
have cattle and the Dorobo have none. “ Nowadays,” says the 
narrator, “if cattle are seen in the possession of Bantu tribes, 
it is presumed that they have been stolen or found, and the 
Masai say, ‘ These are our animals, let us go and take them, for 
God in olden days gave us all the cattle upon earth.’ ” 

Another version of this myth says nothing of the Dorobo’s 
previous misdoings, and only relates how the Masai cheated 
him out of the cattle, very much as shown above. But there is 
one significant addition at the end, which may involve a refer- 
ence to the earlier part of the story: “ After this the Dorobo 
shot away the cord by which the cattle had descended, and God 
moved and went far off.” 

Are we to take this as implying — what perhaps was no 
longer clear to the narrator himself —that the Dorobo’s 
treatment of his fellow-creatures had made the earth impos- 
sible as a residence for Ngai? If so, we are reminded of what 
the Yaos say about Mulungu. It is true we are not told that 
Ngai lived on the earth, but he seems at any rate to have oc- 
cupied a near and comparatively accessible part of heaven. 

This differs considerably from the legend mentioned by 
Irle,° explaining how the Herero got the cattle which the 
Nama spend their lives — or did, not so very long ago — in 
“lifting ” from them. It appears that some of the first human 
beings quarrelled over the skin of the first ox slaughtered for 
food. The colour of their descendants was determined by the 
distribution of the meat: the ancestors of the Hereros ate the 
liver, so their children were black; the Nama are red because 


their fathers took the lungs and the blood. The Nandi legend 
of origins is very similar to the Masai one, but there are some 
interesting points of difference. In general, we find that 
when the Masai and Nandi possess different versions of the 
same story, the latter seem to have the more primitive form. 
In this case, too, God found the earth tenanted by the Dorobo 
and the elephant,” but the third in the partnership was the 
Thunder, not the serpent. The Thunder distrusted the 
Dorobo almost from the beginning, because, when lying down, 
he could turn over without getting up, which neither 
the elephant nor, it appears, the Thunder, was able to do. 
The elephant only laughed at the Thunder’s warning, and the 
latter retreated into the sky, where he has remained ever since. 
The Dorobo then remarked: “ The person I was afraid of 
has fled; I do not mind the elephant,” and at once proceeded 
to shoot him with a poisoned arrow. The unfortunate ele- 
phant, too late, called upon the Thunder to help him and take 
him up, but received the unfeeling answer: “ Die by yourself,” 
with the addition of, “I told you so,” or words to that effect. 
So he was hit by a second arrow, and died, and the Dorobo 
“became great in all the countries.” 

One wonders whether these stories reflect some dim notion 
that the elephant belongs to the older world; that he was not 
merely existing on the earth before man appeared there, but 
that he is the survivor of an extinct order. It is possible, too, 
that others of the earlier vertebrates — giant saurians and 
cetaceans — may have lingered on in Africa after the coming 
of man, and that some memory of them survives in the figures 
made by the Anyanja and Yaos for their unyago ceremonies,” 
and in the reports, persistent, but difficult to substantiate, of 
monstrous fish believed to inhabit the depths of the Great 

Other tribes believe that the first man, or the first pair, 
descended from the sky, like the Peruvian Manco Capac and 


Mama Oella. The Galla say that the ancestor of their oldest 
clan — the Uta Laficho — did so, and some, at least, of the 
other clans, perhaps all those who are not known to have 
branched off from older stocks within human memory. 

It seems also to be held by some of the Baganda that Kintu, 
the first man, descended from heaven.” But this is clearly 
inconsistent with his story as generally related,’ which shows 
that the denizens of Heaven knew no more about him than 
Mulungu knew of the two strange creatures found in the 
Chameleon’s fish-trap. It is merely said that Kintu and his 
cow “came into this country ” (mu nsi muno), whence or 
how is not explained, and found it vacant — there was nothing 
to eat. Kintu lived for some time on the products of the cow, 
till one day he saw several persons coming down from the sky. 
These were the sons of Heaven (Gulu) and their sister 
Nambi, who said to her brothers: “‘ Look at this man, where 
has he come from?” Kintu, on being questioned, said: 
“ Neither do I know where I come from.” In the course of 
a short conversation, he impressed Nambi so favourably that 
she said to her brothers: Kintu murungi mmwagala, mmu- 
fumbirwe —“ Kintu is good, I like him—let me marry 
him.” They, not unnaturally, demurred, asking whether she 
were sure that he was really a human being; whereto she re- 
plied: “I know he is a man—an animal does not build a 
house,” from which we may infer that Kintu had done so, 
though the fact has not been previously mentioned. She then 
turned to him and, with admirable directness, said: “ Kintu, 
I love you. Well, then, let me go home and tell my father 
that I have seen a man out in the jungle whom I should like 
to marry.” The sons of Heaven were by no means satisfied 
and told their father privately that Kintu did not eat ordinary 
food and was certainly a suspicious character. Gulu suggested 
that his sons should steal Kintu’s cow, “ and then we shall see 
whether he dies or not.” They did so, and Kintu suhsisted 


precariously for a time on the bark of trees. Nambi, growing 
anxious about her lover, came down to look after him and 
brought him back with her to heaven. There he saw “ many 
people and many cattle and banana-trees and fowls and sheep 
and goats, and much of everything that is eaten.” (In short, 
the Platonic ideas or patterns of things which did not yet 
exist on earth, were all there in the heavens.) Gulu, when 
informed of Kintu’s arrival, determined to put him to the test. — 
It is not quite clear whether he wished to find out if Kintu 
could really eat human — or celestial — food, or whether he 
wished to choke off an unwelcome connection by imposing 
impossible conditions. He ordered his slaves to make a house 
without a door and interned Kintu therein, together with ten 
thousand bundles ** of mashed plantains (emere), the car- 
cases of a thousand bullocks, and a thousand gourds of banana- 
beer (omwenge). If he failed to consume these viands, 
said Gulu, “he is not really Kintu; he is lying, and we will 
kill him.” The message actually given to Kintu, however, 
was less intransigeant than this. “Guest Kintu, Gulu says, 
‘Take our guest the emere and the meat and the beer; if he 
cannot eat them, he is not Kintu and he shall not have the 
cow he has come to fetch, and I will not give him my 
daughter.’ ” 

Kintu thanked his host politely, but on being left alone was 
ready to despair, when, behold, he saw that the earth had 
opened in the middle of the house. He threw in the super- 
fluous food and the pit immediately closed up. In the same 
way he accomplished two other tasks set him — or rather they 
were accomplished for him, he could not tell how. There is 
nowhere any hint who or what is this friendly Power which 
takes his part against Gulu and is evidently stronger than the 
latter. Another remarkable point is the statement that Kintu 
prayed (yegairira) in his difficulties, though it is not said to 
whom. Having passed these three tests, he was next told that 


he should have his cow, if he could pick her out from the herds 
which Gulu ordered to be driven up — some twenty thousand 
beasts. Again Kintu was appalled by the magnitude of the 
task, when he heard a hornet buzzing at his ear. The hornet 
said: “ Watch me when I fly up — the cow on whose horn I 
shall settle is yours.”? The hornet remained quiet, and Kintu 
said: “ Take away these cattle, my cow is not among them.” 
A second herd was driven up, and still the hornet gave no 
sign, but when the third instalment arrived, it flew off and 
settled on one of the cows. “ That is my cow,” said Kintu, 
going up to it and striking it with his stick. The hornet then 
flew off to a fine heifer. “ That is a calf of my cow,” said 
Kintu; and in the same way he claimed another calf. (This 
indicates that he must have been living on bark for a consider- 
able period.) Gulu laughed and said: “ Kintu is a wonder! 
No one can take him in! And what he says is true. Well, 
let them call my daughter Nambi.” So he gave her to Kintu 
in marriage and sent them down to live on the earth, giving 
them also a fowl, a banana-tree, and the principal seeds and 
roots now cultivated by the Baganda.*® He also warned them 
most particularly not to turn back, once they had started, even 
if they should find that they had forgotten anything. But, 
as this warning has to do with the entrance of death into the 
world, the way in which it was neglected, and the disastrous 
consequences which followed, it will be better related in the 
next chapter. The couple came down to earth “ here at Ma- 
gonga,” *® set up housekeeping and began to cultivate. Nambi 
planted the banana-tree, which produced numerous other trees, 
and in course of time they had three children. 

This Kintu, of course, is an entirely mythical figure, though 
we have reason to suppose that the Kintu from whom the Kings 
of Uganda trace their descent (every link in the pedigree is 
preserved) was a historical character, who invaded Uganda, 
coming from the north. In fact, as Roscoe points out, the 

> gaead Seve his cow, if he could aie the hen 

S6e% Gulu ordered penguins g went 

ates. Again -Kintu wie appa xy 

eask, when he heard a Karmet buzzing at his ear. 

said: “ Watch me when I fly fp onthe cow, on" rose horn 

shall settle is yours.” The -hornet sonia: quiet, and | vi 

said: “ Take away these cattle, my cow is not among the 

A second herd was driven up, and still the homet gave ao 
rived, it flew off and 

sion, but when the third instalment anrive 
settied on one of the cows, “ Pitat a ae eae 
up te = and striking it with his stick, “ite Gamma = 
* to a fine hetfen “© That ie a calf oF aap cow,” aid 

in the samc Way he claimed: another calf. his 

tes that he nyusi jet ot ee 
rol | BMAEREG Sik 

The Cattle-Troughs oy 

page 375. ) After a ne togra Ca 

them dowa to _ on the earth, giles 

, @ Danana-tree, were the principal uke — 

tivated i the Baganda.** He also warned them: : 

rly not to turn rei: once ney had started, even 

ng has t 0 do with the entranweé of <teath ito | 

which: fo r owed, it will nes bene 
The couple came dose A ae 
up housekeeping and @ 
planted the banana-tree, which preg 
and in course of fime they had three. ; 
This Kintu, of course, is an i 
we have reason to suppose that the aa 
f Uganda trace their descent ( re 
aa eae was 2 histori¢al charac 
from the north, In fa 


traditions of some clans do not fit in with the legend as given 
above. Some say that Nambi was not the daughter of Heaven 
but a woman of the Lung-fish clan, who therefore was already 
living in the country at the time of Kintu’s invasion; and there 
are still in existence alleged relics of chiefs who were there 
before Kintu. In the version of the story given by Stanley,’ 
he is represented as an ordinary human immigrant, coming 
from the north with his wife, and bringing with him the princi- 
pal domestic animals and plants. He disappeared from the 
earth after many years, disgusted by the wickedness of his 
descendants, and his successors sought for him in vain. He 
revealed himself to the twenty-second king, Mawanda, bid- 
ding him come to the meeting-place accompanied by no one 
but his mother. One of Mawanda’s councillors, unknown to 
the king, followed him into the forest. Kintu asked Mawanda 
why he had disobeyed his orders, and the latter, when he 
discovered the councillor, killed him. Kintu then disappeared 
and has never been seen since, but whether on account of the 
minister’s disobedience or the king’s deed of violence, does not 
seem clear. But we may perhaps see in the story a rationalised 
version of the legend which represents the Creator as leaving 
the earth, as in the cases of Mulungu and Bumba. 

Another case of an ancestor who appears in an uninhabited 
country, without any indication of his having descended from 
heaven, is Vere, from whom the Buu tribe of the Pokomo 
trace their descent. He is sometimes spoken of as a preter- 
natural being “ without father or mother.” Other narrators 
content themselves with saying that no one knows where he 
came from or who his parents were. He wandered about 
alone in the forests of the Tana Valley, feeding on wild fruits 
and raw fish, for he had no knowledge of fire and no means 
of making it. After two years, he met with one Mitsotsozini, 
who showed him how to make fire by means of two sticks and 
cook his food. The remarkable part of this story is that Mitso- 


tsozini belonged to the hunter tribe of the Wasanye, who are 
generally considered less advanced in the arts of life than the 
Bantu. It may also indicate that the Wasanye — like the 
Dorobo, with whom, in fact, they have a good deal in com- 
mon — are supposed to have been there from the beginning 
of things. As, moreover, some of the Buu clans trace their 
descent from Mitsotsozini, as well as from Vere, we may 
infer that intermarriage took place at an early period between 
the Pokomo and the Wasanye, and a good many facts con- 
nected with the former tribe render this extremely probable.” 

Before concluding this chapter, I should like to refer to a 
very curious myth of the Nandi, interesting, not only in itself, 
but because of its points of contact with the traditions of races 
in the far South-west. Among the Masai folk-tales collected 
by Hollis is one called “ The Old Man and his Knee.” It 
relates how an old man, living alone, was troubled with a 
swelling in his knee which he took for an abscess; but, at the 
end of six months, as it did not burst, he cut it open and out 
came two children, a girl and a boy. The rest of the story 
proceeds very much on the lines of the Sesuto “ Tselane ” and 
other tales of cannibals, though without the usual happy 
ending. This, as it stands, is not a myth of origins, but an 
ordinary fairy-tale. The Nandi, however, have what is evi- 
dently the more primitive form of it.*° “Amongst the Moi 
clan there is a tradition that the first Dorobo ”— again we 
find the Dorobo looked on as the earliest men —“ gave birth 
to a boy and a girl. His leg swelled up one day... at 
length it burst, and a boy issued from the inner side of the 
calf, while a girl issued from the outer side. These two in 
course of time had children, who were the ancestors of all the 
people on earth.” 

The same idea crops up among the Wakuluwe (between 
Lakes Nyasa and Tanganyika) who hold that the first human 
pair came down from heaven, but did not produce offspring 


in the ordinary way. Negulwe (the local equivalent of 
Mulungu) caused a child, known as Kanga Masala, to come 
out of the woman’s knee.” | 

What lies behind this notion it is difficult to see; but it seems 
to reappear, distorted and half-forgotten, in Hottentot 
mythology. A good deal of controversy has raged round 
Tsai || Goab (or Tsuni || Goam), the “ Supreme Being of the 
Hottentots.” ** This name was long ago interpreted as 
“Wounded Knee,” with the added explanation that the deity 
(according to some, a famous warrior of old times) ** had got 
his knee injured in a fight in which he overcame the evil being 
|| Gaunab. Hahn,* who was anxious to prove that the Khoi- 
khoi (Hottentots) had a relatively high conception of a God, 
rejected this interpretation in 1881 (though he had previously 
advocated it) and leaned to the view that Tsuni || Goam means 
“The Red Dawn,” thus placing this being in the category of 
Sky-gods. Krénlein,” one of the best authorities on the Hot- 
tentot language, translates the name as “ He who is entreated 
with difficulty ” (der miihsam zu Bittende), which, though 
different enough from Hahn’s rendering, could be cited in 
support of a similar view. But a more recent writer, Dr. L. 
Schultze,** shows that Krénlein’s interpretation is inadmissible 
on linguistic grounds, and declares, on the ground of his own 
independent inquiries, for Hahn’s (earlier) derivation, viz., 
that tsi || goad is equivalent to “ wounded knee,” and is the 
designation of a hero who had his knee wounded in battle. 
Dr. Schultze does not mention the view advocated in Hahn’s 
later work. 

This, of course, is a very different matter from the Nandi 
myth as related by Hollis, but we have already seen how the 
latter has been transformed by the Masai, who no longer seem 
to recognise it as part of their “ Genesis.” The Hottentots, 
while (as has been demonstrated by recent research into their 
_ language and customs) remotely connected with the Masai and 


other Hamitic and semi-Hamitic tribes of the North-east, 
have been so long separated from their congeners that they 
might easily have forgotten the original meaning of the 
Wounded Knee. Especially would this be the case where later 
generations find the story strange and perplexing, if not repel- 
lent, whereas the battle with || Gaunab readily commends itself 
to the intelligence. 

The identity of Tsai || Goab presents some difficulties. It 
is impossible to keep him quite distinct from Haitsi-aibeb 
(about whom we shall have something to say in a later chapter, 
and to whom some of Tsii || Goab’s adventures are expressly 
attributed) and || Gurikhoisib, the First Ancestor — the soli- 
tary dweller in the wilderness, who reminds us of Vere. Hahn 
further identifies him with the thunder-cloud and the thunder: 
this is a question not to be decided here, but it may be in- 
teresting to give the story of Tsii || Goab, as related to Hahn 
by an old Nama, probably born not much later than 1770, 
as “he had big grown-up children . . . in 1811.” 

“ Tsai || Goab was a great, powerful chief of the Khoikhoi; 
in fact, he was the first Khoikhoib, from whom all the 
Khoikhoi tribes took their origin. But Tsai || Goab was not 
his original name. This Tsii|| Goab went to war with an- 
other chief, || Gaunab, because the latter always killed great 
numbers of Tsfi || Goab’s people. In this fight, however, 
Tsti || Goab was repeatedly overpowered by || Gaunab, but 
in every battle the former grew stronger, and at last he was so 
strong and big that he easily destroyed || Gaunab by giving 
him one blow behind the ear. While || Gaunab was expiring, 
he gave his enemy a blow on the knee. Since that day the con- 
queror of || Gaunab received the name Tsii || Goab, ‘ sore 
knee? or ‘wounded knee? WHenceforth he could not walk 
properly because he was lame. He could do wonderful things, 
which no other man could do, because he was very wise. He 
could tell what would happen in future times. He died sev- 


eral times and several times he rose again. And whenever he 
came back to us, there were great feastings and rejoicings. 
Milk was brought from every kraal, and fat cows and fat 
ewes were slaughtered. Tsii || Goab gave every man plenty of 
cattle and sheep, because he was very rich. He gives rain, he 
makes the clouds, he lives in the clouds, and he makes our cows 
and sheep fruitful.” 

These repeated deaths and resurrections are a prominent 
feature, as we shall see, in the legend of Haitsi-aibeb, who 
also overcame an evil being named { Gama ¢ Goub (according 
to Hahn “almost identical with || Gaunab”) by hitting him 
with a stone behind the ear. 

These definitely evil powers are not common in African 
mythology, at least in that of the Bantu, who usually conceive 
of spirits as good or bad — perhaps one should rather say 
friendly or hostile — according to circumstances. Where they 
exist, as here, they are perhaps due to Hamitic influence. The 
apparent exceptions — Mbasi of the Wankonde,** and Mwawa 
of the Wakuluwe **—need to be carefully studied. 


N ALL parts of Bantu Africa we find the Chameleon 
associated with the entry of death into the world. Or, at 
any rate, the well-known legend, to be related presently, has 
been found in so many different parts of the area occupied 
by these tribes, that we may confidently expect to find it in 
others, where it has not yet come to light. 

The Zulu version of the story, as related by Callaway,* is 
so well known, that I prefer to give, as a fairly typical speci- 
men, one quite independently recorded from Nyasaland:? 
“God sent the Chameleon (nadzikambe) and the msalulu 
(a kind of lizard) and said: ‘You, Chameleon, when you 
come to men, tell them, “ When you die you will come back,” ” 
and to the msalulu also he gave a message, saying: ‘ Say, 
“When men die they will pass away completely.”? Then, 
after the Chameleon had gone ahead, the Lizard followed 
after him and went along the road and found the Chameleon 
walking along delicately, going backwards and forwards.” 
Any one who has watched this creature, the almost affected 
daintiness of its movements, and the caution with which it 
always plants one foot firmly before lifting the next, will 
recognise the justice of the description. ‘‘ And he, the Msa- 
lulu, passed on very swiftly till he came to people, and he 
said: ‘ When men die, they shall pass away completely. And 
after a time the Chameleon arrived, coming in uselessly behind 
him, and said: ‘When men die they will return.’ But the 
people said, ‘We have already heard the Msalulu’s mes- 
sage — “ When we die there will be an end to us,” and now 


he says, “ When we die we shall come back,”— what non- 
sense! ? So people, when they see the Chameleon, put tobacco 
into his mouth that he may die, because, say they, ‘ You lin- 
gered on the road instead of hurrying on with your message 
and arriving first.’ For after all, it is better to come back 
than to be dead altogether.” 

The Chameleon seems everywhere to be considered an un- 
lucky animal, and this special form of retribution by nicotine- 
poisoning is reported from the Konde country,’® and from 
Delagoa Bay,* as well as from Nyasaland. One writer, 
however, says that, in Likoma, the tobacco — whatever its 
effect —is intended as a reward, not a punishment, the idea 
being that at any rate the purpose was a good one, though 
the Chameleon failed, perhaps through natural incapacity, 
to carry it out. His name, in this particular part of Nyasa- 
land, is Gulumpambe, probably connected with Mpambe, 
one of the local names for “ God.” (The name used in the 
Shire Highlands is nadzikambe, of which I can offer no satis- 
factory explanation; that given in Scott’s Dictionary is scarcely 
admissible. ) 

The Giryama (British East Africa, to the north of Mom- 
basa) tell the story in much the same way,’ with one rather 
important exception, to be considered presently. It is to be 
noted that in neither of these versions, nor in any other that 
I have been able to examine, is there any question of the second 
messenger being sent off to countermand the announcement 
made by the first, in consequence of the wickedness of man- 
kind which had become manifest after the departure of the 
Chameleon. This is sometimes stated by European writers, 
but I can find no hint of it in Callaway’s original Zulu texts. 

In general, the versions of this story conform to one or 
other of two types. In one, the Creator despatches both 
messengers; in the other he sends only the Chameleon, 
though the blue-headed Gecko, or some other species of 

Cos os 


lizard, but in one case the Hare, starts on his own account, 
arrives before the Chameleon and delivers the wrong 
message, apparently from sheer love of mischief. This 
is the case in the Giryama version just referred to, whereas in 
the Nyanja one,’ Mulungu sends both, though no reason is 
given. But in some cases it appears as if he had intended the 
matter to be decided by the first arrival. The Subiya* say 
that Leza sent off the Chameleon with the message as already 
stated; then, after giving him a good start (in fact, waiting 
till he had got half-way), he despatched the Lizard with 
instructions to say nothing if the Chameleon had already 
arrived; but if he had not yet come in, he was to say, “ Men 
shall die and not live again.” 

The Luyi story is somewhat different.” When Nyambe and 
his wife Nasilele lived on earth, they had a dog, which died. 
Nyambe was deeply grieved and wanted to recall him to 
life, but Nasilele, who did not like the dog, said, “ For my 
part, I don’t want him back, he is a thief! ”” Nyambe insisted: 
“ As for me, I am fond of my dog,”— but the wife was obdu- 
rate and the corpse was thrown out. Soon afterwards, Nasi- 
lele’s mother died, and this time it was the wife who pleaded 
for the recall of the dead, and the husband who refused. 
Nasilele’s mother died “for good,” and it would appear 
(though this is not expressly stated) that she therefore wanted 
to destroy the whole human race. The account goes on: 
“They sent the Chameleon and the Hare, with messages of 
opposite import: the Hare arrived first, and therefore men 
have to die without hope of return.” 

The Subiya”*® tell the first part of this story without any 
reference to Leza; it is simply “ the first man ” and his wife 
who quarrel over the dog. But there is every reason to think 
that Leza and the First Ancestor are identical. The Subiya 
legend, moreover, contains an additional episode not found in 
the Luyi version, at least as related to Jacottet. The man 

site sadn ay =) 




given. ‘bei im soMe cases x appears as if he had? in a ende th he 
matter to be decided by the first arrival. > The Subiya* say 
that Leza sent off the Chameleon with the message as a. read 
stated t the i, oe ~— him ¢ ~— — ‘* ~— Wi | 

$ = 
msct recy 47 

; but if he had mee yet come im, be = ao 2 ay len 

Luyi story is "nha AAT nen fi yi ibe and 
‘Type of Zanzibar Swahilizac « dog, wich Gied. — 
Afters photoeeenhaly Dr. Aders, pence | 

vl not bike the dog, said, For my 
m buck, he a9 a thief!” Nyambe insisted: 
fond of my dog,”—— but the wife was Obgu= 
corpse was thrown out, Soon afterwards, Nase 
ther died, and this time it Was the wife who pleaded 
recall of the dead, and the husband whe refused: 

ther died “for good,” anc if would. appear a oe 

not dsr, pressly stated) that she therefore wanted 

le human race. 

* secount goes: on: eee 

o Cheenliad and the Hare, with messages of te 

import: the Hare arrived fee, and therefiones om: a 
. with out hope of return”: | oe eee 
rhe Subiya® tell the first part ef thle story without any 
reference to Leza; it is simply « the § ret man” and. his: wi! Ae 
who ai aera over the dog. But ve ei e ie t ed 
that Leza and the First Ancestor 
legend, moreover, contains an saeiien 
the Luyi version, at least a6 pelates ‘s 


repents and agrees to restore his wife’s mother to life. He has 
her carried into her house and treats her with “ medicines ” 
(herbs), giving his wife strict orders to keep the door shut. 
She begins to revive, and all goes well, till he has to go into 
the forest to seek some fresh herbs; in his absence his wife 
opens the door and finds her mother alive, but “ immediately 
her heart came out ” (of her body) “and she died again.” 
This time the husband refused to do anything more and no 
one since then has recovered after dying. 

Kropf * gives a remarkable variant current among the 
Amaxosa of the Eastern Cape Province. This is clearer and 
more coherent than many others, but we cannot be certain that 
this proves it to be the earlier: it might be the result of later 
reflection after the primitive story had been partly forgotten. 
At first, people did not die, and the earth became so over- 
crowded that its inhabitants could scarcely breathe. An 
assembly was held to discuss what should be done, and some 
said: “ The only thing that can save us is, that people should 
die, so that we can get air.” Others approved this, and at 
last it was decided that two messengers should be sent to lay 
the question before the Creator, the Chameleon and the Lizard 
being chosen for the purpose. The former was to say: “ The 
great ones of the earth have resolved that people are not to 
die! ” while the Lizard was to say: “ We want them to die.” 
Here the question seems to be one of dying or not dying, and 
not of reviving after death. The Chameleon was given a 
certain start, in order to make the race a fair one; but, as in 
the other versions, he lingered, zigzagging along the path 
and stopping to catch flies by the way (some say, to eat the 
berries of a certain shrub which is pointed out), and finally 
went to sleep; when, of course, the Lizard overtook and passed 

The rest of the story need not be repeated, but we may 
note that the reception of the Chameleon’s message seems to 


have more point when coming from the authority whose voice 
has decided the matter in dispute. ‘“ Since that time,” says 
Kropf or his informant, “ death has reigned on earth. Both 
animals are hated, the Chameleon is poisoned with tobacco- 
juice wherever found, and the Lizard has to run for his life, 
for the Bushman eats every one he catches.” 

The intulwa (or intulo), by the bye, is considered by the 
Zulus as unlucky as the Chameleon, and one entering a hut is 
an exceedingly bad omen. I remember a pathetic touch in a 
letter written for Okamsweli, mother of the late Chief 
Dinuzulu, when her son was in exile at St. Helena, in which 
was mentioned, among other incidents, that one of these liz- 
ards had come into her hut, “ but she was not afraid and was 
“strengthening her heart? against the evil influence.” Both 
creatures are perfectly harmless, though the lizard especially 
is often believed to be poisonous in countries where there is, 
so far as one knows, no other superstition connected with it. 

One does not know whether to conclude that the myth gave 
rise to the belief in the reptile’s poisonous properties, or vice 
versa; among the Bantu, at any rate, I am inclined to think 
that the former may be the case, and the poison theory a 
rationalising afterthought. It is interesting, in this connection, 
to note one or two bits of Swahili folklore with regard to 
lizards. The little striped lizards, so common in houses, and 
so useful in ridding them of flies, etc., are called musi kafiri,” 
“ the infidel lizard,” and Moslems say it is the duty of every 
believer to kill them — by biting off their heads, some say, 
but for this I will not vouch. I have heard two reasons given 
— one being that when a certain King had ordered the Prophet 
to be burnt alive (I think this must be some confusion with 
the legend of Abraham and Nimrod), the m/jusi-kafiri sat by 
and endeavoured to blow up the flames with its breath. 
Others say, that when the Prophet and his two companions 
were hidden in the cave, whereas the Spider wove a web across 


the entrance, and the Dove laid two eggs on the threshold to 
deceive the pursuers, the Lizard tried to betray him by nodding 
his head in the direction of the cave. Whether these stories 
are current outside Africa I do not know. Possibly some 
ancient aboriginal beliefs have been adapted to Moslem tra- 
dition. The entry under Kinyonge in Krapf’s Swahili diction- 
ary seems to indicate that the legend was at one time known 
here. A larger and beautifully coloured lizard, sky-blue with 
a golden head, called Kande at Lamu, is sometimes seen run- 
ning up and down the stems of coconut palms. Its habit 
when at rest, of nodding its head up and down has suggested 
to the popular mind that it is engaged in counting all who 
come within its ken, as a result of which, they will die. 
Women, when they see it, call out: Kande, Kande, usini- 
wange! — “do not count me! ” This may have some con- 
nection with a forgotten legend of the kind current, as we have 
seen, among the inland tribes (Giryama, Kamba, etc.). In 
West Africa, we find the legend among the Duala”* and the 
Bakwiri of Kamerun — the latter combining it with another 
very ancient myth which we must notice in detail later. They 
also associate the Chameleon with the Salamander instead of 
the usual Lizard. In Bamun, as also in Abeokuta and Benin, 
the Chameleon is frequently represented in wood-carving and 
metal-work, but its exact place in the mythology of these tribes 
has yet to be determined. It is remarkable that, while 
the legend of the origin of Death is told on the Gold Coast 
with the Sheep and the Goat * as messengers, there are Twi 
and Ewe proverbs which indicate that these are of recent intro- 
duction and that the Chameleon had his place in the older 
form of the myth. 

The dread which this creature seems to inspire — and 
indeed, its appearance and its ways, not to mention its changes 
of colour, make it uncanny enough to suggest any amount of 
superstition — is well illustrated by Struck.*” He relates that 


two boys of the Bulu tribe, whom he had the opportunity of 
questioning at Hamburg, were very communicative about all 
the animals known to them in the Zoological Gardens till they 
caught sight of the Chameleon in the Reptile House. Both 
immediately fell silent and made a wide circuit to avoid it; 
the only information they could be induced to give was that, 
“ God had sent it.” 

Meinhof, some years ago,'* suggested that the Chameleon 
figures in this myth because it comes into the category of 
“ soul-animals ” (Seelentiere),'" i.e., those thought of as em- 
bodiments of departed spirits. Such, for various reasons, are 
snakes, lizards, birds, fish and others. Animals seen in the 
neighbourhood of graves, especially such as burrow in the earth 
and might seem to come out of the grave itself, would easily 
come to be looked on in such a light. It is true that the Chame- 
leon does not burrow in the earth, and is usually found on 
trees or bushes, but Wundt thinks that creeping things in gen- 
eral may have become soul-vehicles by an extension of the 
idea originally associated with the maggots actually found 
feeding on corpses. In a later work, however,’* Meinhof has 
adopted another explanation, thinking that the real reason 
is given in a Duala tale which describes the Chameleon as 
‘always trembling, as if just about to die — yet it does not 
die,” at the time, and therefore it is presumed that it never 
will. The Chameleon, moreover, says Meinhof, is the mes- 
senger of the Moon, and its changes of colour afford an obvious 
reason for their connection. 

But, unfortunately for the theory, the Chameleon, so far as 
I am aware, is nowhere said to be the messenger of the Moon. 
The Moon, with one or two insignificant exceptions, does not 
come into the Bantu legend at all, and the Hottentot and 
Bushman myths concerned with it make no mention of the 
Chameleon, the most usual messenger being the Hare. I think 
the two groups of tales must be originally distinct; the features 


they have in common are quite likely to have arisen inde- 

The Chaga of Kilimanjaro have both a Moon story and a 
Chameleon story, but they are not in any way connected, and 
neither is quite of the usual type. This Bantu tribe has been 
much in contact with non-Bantu people, such as the Masai; 
and, while much of their folk-lore is characteristically Bantu, 
it certainly contains some Masai elements. 

The Hottentot myth has been variously reported. Bleek * 
gives four versions, the first differing in an important point 
from the other three. The part played by the Hare is inter- 
esting, as bearing on the very different conceptions of that 
animal found in Bantu and Hamitic folklore respectively. 

This version, translated from an original Nama text taken 
down by Krénlein, says that the Moon sent a messenger — 
politely described by Bleek as “an Insect,” though more 
plainly specified in the original *°— to tell men: “ As I die 
and dying live, so shall ye also die and dying live.” The 
“¢ Insect ” was slow, as might be expected (vide the first chapter 
of Sir A. Shipley’s Mimor Horrors of War), and had not gone 
very, far before he was overtaken by the Hare, who asked his 
errand. On being informed of it, the Hare offered to carry 
it, being so much swifter, and the messenger consented. The 
Hare — it is not stated whether out of wanton mischief or 
stupidity — reversed the terms of the message, and the angry 
Moon, on his return, hit him with a piece of wood so that his 
lip is split to this day. One version adds that the Hare, in 
retaliation, scratched the Moon’s face, so that the marks are 
still visible. But the most important variation is the omission 
of the Insect — in all three versions the Hare is the original 
messenger sent, who, whether wilfully or not, falsifies the 
message. This is also the case in the form of the story obtained 
from the Nama, at a much later date, by Dr. Schultze, which 
also supplies the missing explanation, exculpating the Hare 


at the expense of his intellect. “ And the Hare delivered his 
message, saying: ‘As my grandfather the Moon does, so ye 
also shall pass away and appear again. That is my message.’ 
But when he spoke so, the boys shouted: ‘ What are you talking 
about? ? Then the Hare (grew confused and) said: ‘As I 
do —this is my message — so ye also shall die with staring 
eyes?” — alluding to the appearance of a dead man whose 
eyes have not been closed. “ Then he went home and came to 
the Moon; and the Moon asked him (about his errand), but 
he was silent, well knowing that he had told a lie. So the 
Moon (hit him and) cut his mouth open.” 

I was inclined to set down the Moon-myth as characteristi- 
cally Hamitic, as the Chameleon-myth is characteristically 
Bantu; but I have not come across the former among either 
Masai, Somali, or Galla, while, on the other hand, the Bush- 
men ™ have the legend which I shall presently relate. The 
Bushmen, however, say nothing about the Hare being sent with 
a message to mankind; while this is a prominent feature in the 
Galla and Nandi stories. It occurs to me that the Hottentots, 
whose ultimate derivation is Hamitic, might have brought with 
them the idea of a message sent by the Creator to assure men of 
immortality, and associated it with a Moon-myth borrowed 
from the Bushmen, who have exercised a strong influence on 
their language and probably also upon their thought. 

The Bushmen say that the Hare was once a human being 
and that his mother died. When he was crying and mourning 
for her, the Moon tried to comfort him by saying that she was 
not really dead, “ but will return, as I also do.” The Hare 
would not believe this, and the Moon grew angry, hitting him 
on the face with his fist and, as already related, splitting his lip. 
He then turned him into a Hare and laid a curse upon him, 
that he should be hunted by dogs and caught and torn to pieces 
and “ die altogether,” and also on the whole human race, that 
they, too, should die without remedy. 


The Nandi ” say that a Dog one day came to the first human 
beings and said: “ All people will die like the Moon, but unlike 
the Moon you will not return to life again, unless you give 
me some milk to drink out of your gourd, and beer to drink 
through your straw. If you do this, I will arrange for you 
to go to the river when you die and come to life again on the 
third day.” There is no hint here of any one sending the Dog, 
or of how he became possessed of his information. The people 
laughed at the Dog and, though they supplied him with re- 
freshment, they did not treat him with proper respect, but 
poured the milk and beer into the hollow top of a stool, for 
him to lap up, instead of giving him the one in a gourd and let- 
ting him drink the other through the tube * used for this bev- 
erage by the Nandi. So the Dog was angry, and, though he 
drank, went away saying, “ All people will die and the Moon 
alone will return to life.” 

I heard from Abarea, headman of the Galla in the Malindi 
District of the East Africa Protectorate, the account given by 
the Southern Galla of the way in which death entered the 
world. God (Wak) sent a certain bird (called by the Galla, 
from its cry, Holawaka, “ the Sheep of God”) with a message 
to men. The bird, which I have not yet satisfactorily identi- 
fied, though it may be the black and white hornbill, is black, 
with a white patch on each shoulder, and cries a — 4— a — 
like a sheep. (Abarea insisted much on its being black and 
white “like the sky ” — perhaps the stormy sky — or, as the 
same word is used for black and blue, he may have meant the 
sky dappled with white clouds.) God gave him a crest, “ like 
a flag, to show that he was a messenger,” ** and told him to 
tell men that when they felt themselves growing old and 
weak they had only to shed their skins and they would grow 
young again. The bird set out, but on the way saw a snake 
feeding on the carcass of a freshly-killed animal and was 
seized with a desire to share in the feast. He offered to tell 


the snake “ the news of God ” in return for some of the flesh, 
and, more especially, of the blood. (Abarea interpolated the 
remark that the snake was an enemy from the beginning.) The 
snake at first refused but, on being pressed, gave way, and the 
bird delivered his message in words to the following effect: 
“ People will grow old and die; but you, when you grow old, 
all you have to do is to crawl out of your skin, and you will 
be young again.” Consequently, men die and do not come 
back, but snakes shed their skins and renew their youth. Wak 
was very angry with the greedy and treacherous bird and 
cursed it with chronic indigestion, so that it knows no rest, but 
sits by itself in the trees, uttering its wailing cry, Wakatia — 
a4 — a—a!, which Abarea paraphrased: “ My God! heal me, 
for I am perishing! ” 

Here we find the right message given, but to the wrong 
person —a variation I have not noted elsewhere. The idea 
that men could at one time renew their vitality by changing 
their skins is found among the Wachaga,” who relate that 
they might have continued to do so to this day but for the 
curiosity of two children. The parents, being about to accom- 
plish their annual change, and wishing to get the children out 
of the way, sent them down to the river to fetch water in a 
basket, charging them not to return unless they could bring it 
full. After many trials, they grew tired and came back, but 
their father heard them outside the door and sent them away, 
so next time they came quietly and, getting in before they were 
heard, saw their mother half in and half out of her skin, as a 
result of which she died, and every one else has done so ever 
since. Several different stories appear to be current among 
these people. In one, a woman’s child dies and she entreats 
her co-wife to carry the body out into the bush * for her and 
say: “ Go and return again like the Moon ”; but the woman, 
being jealous, said: “ Go and be lost, but let the Moon go and 
return again.” 

at {odod bollss) nsm onuoy 
__,fiteq on? mtoit 2odonsid ot 
; fey ee fe hie ee 

: Hei wie! : ee OF Arps é: dee 



1. Abarea, the narrator of the Holawaka story. 
2. In the lower photograph, he is shown struggling 
with a young man who was reluctant to be photo- 
graphed and dragging him in front of the camera. 
The stick held by the young man (called hoko) is 
used for removing thorny branches from the path. 

After photographs by Prof. A. Werner. 


The Chaga substitute for the Chameleon story * is to some 
extent a reversal of the current type: it deals, not with the 
introduction of death, but with the saving of the human race 
from summary destruction. The Salamander went to heaven 
and complained that the earth was becoming over-populated; 
the friendly little House-lizard overheard him and, thinking: 
“If God (Iruwa) destroys men, where am I going to sleep? ” 
went and said: “The Salamander is deceiving thee; there are 
only a few people in the world.” So he remains a welcome in- 
mate of the hut, but the spiteful Salamander was driven from 
human habitations and hides among the stones. 

Before turning to the myth of Walumbe, referred to in 
our last chapter, which marks a somewhat different order of 
thought in contrast to those we have just been considering, we 
must refer in passing to a somewhat different notion found in 
some places, viz., that death, though universal, may in indi- 
vidual cases be remediable. The Wachaga have two legends 
illustrative of this belief. One is of a gigantic snail which 
could revive a dead man by crawling over and lubricating 
him. After this marvellous property had been accidentally 
discovered, people used to carry their dead friends into the 
forest and leave them to be crawled over by the snail. But 
a chief who was at war with the tribe and to whom the secret 
of their never-diminishing numbers was betrayed by a woman, 
sent men to hunt up the snail and spear it to death.” 

The hyenas, too,’’ it is said, used to possess a magic staff 
called Kirasa, with which they could recall a dead man to life. 
They used it to revive dead men, whom they questioned as 
to the manner of their death, before eating them.” But a 
man once stole Kirasa, and the hyenas were in great straits; 
for, since every one who died recovered, there were no corpses 
to eat. At length they recovered it and, fearing lest the same 
thing might happen again, threw it into a deep pit where 
neither they nor any one else could ever get at it. 


The Baganda have a Chameleon-legend of much the same 
character as those already mentioned, but, side by side with it 
and probably introduced by the Hamitic influence so visible 
in other parts of their national life, is a legend which shows 
Death as a person — in fact a son of Gulu (Heaven). When 
Kintu and Nambi left Gulu’s presence to settle on the earth, 
carrying with them the domestic animals and plants which were 
henceforth to constitute the staple foodstuffs of the country, 
he warned them on no account to turn back should they find 
that they had forgotten anything. Walumbe (Death) was 
absent at the time, and Gulu was anxious that the couple 
should start before his return, as he would insist on coming 
with them. When they were about half way, they discovered 
that they had left behind the grain for feeding the fowl. Kintu 
insisted on returning for it, though Nambi remonstrated,”* say- 
ing: “ No, don’t go back. Death will have come home by this 
time and he is execeedingly wicked; when he sees you he will 
want to come here and I don’t want him, he does harm.” But 
Kintu went back, and it fell out as Gulu and Nambi had said — 
the unwelcome brother-in-law followed him down to earth, 
though, for a time, he gave no trouble. When Kintu’s children 
were growing up, Walumbe came and demanded one of 
the girls to cook for him. Kintu refused and Walumbe threat- 
ened to kill the children, but Kintu paid no heed to the threat, 
and the incident was repeated several times. At last the 
children began to sicken and die, and the father, now 
thoroughly alarmed, went and appealed to Gulu for help. 
Gulu answered as might be expected —and at considerable 
length — but afterwards so far relented that he sent another 
of his sons, Kaikuzi, to fetch Death back. Kaikuzi at first 
tried persuasion, but Death refused to come, unless his sister 
Nambi came too. Kaikuzi then seized him in order to take 
him away by force, but Death slipped from his hands and took 
refuge underground. Twice Kaikuzi succeeded in seizing: 


him and dragging him to the surface, and twice he escaped. 
After a while, when Death seemed to be getting tired out, 
Kaikuzi directed Kintu to give orders that every one was to 
stay indoors for two days; the children were not to go out with 
the goats, and if, by any chance, any one saw Death come out 
of the ground, he was on no account to give the alarm. How- 
ever, it seems that, in spite of the prohibition, some little boys 
were out herding at Tanda (in Singo, the central district of 
Uganda), and while they were playing in a meadow, they saw 
Death appearing above ground and at once raised the shrill 
cry, mdulu, which gives warning of danger. Kaikuzi hurried 
up, but it was too late— Death had once more disappeared, 
and Kaikuzi declared he was tired of hunting him and should 
return to heaven. Kintu accepted this decision quite phil- 
osophically: “ Very well — since you cannot get the better of 
Death, let him alone and return to Gulu’s. If he wants to kill 
men, let him — I, Kintu, will not cease begetting children, so 
that Death will never be able to make an end of my people.” 
So Kaikuzi returned, reported his failure, and thenceforth 
remained in heaven.** 

There seems here a distinct notion that the reproduction of 
the human species is necessitated by death. It is true that Kintu 
already had several children before Death began to exercise 
his power. But perhaps we are to understand that the family 
would have increased up to a comfortable limit and then 
stopped, had not the gaps made by Death called for indefinite 
multiplication. Or it may be that the exigencies of the story 
have betrayed the narrator into inconsistencies, as may happen 
in more sophisticated literature. 

Death also appears, under the slightly different name of 
Olumbe (Orumbe) in the tale of Mpobe, the hunter, who, 
following an animal into its burrow, found himself in the 
country of the Dead. He found his dog and the game at a 
village where there were many people, and he was asked by 


the chief to give an account of himself. Having done so, he 
was allowed to depart, after being warned that if he spoke to 
any one of what he had seen, he would be killed. He returned 
home and successfully parried all inquiries, till at last his 
mother over-persuaded him and he told her. That night 
Mpobe heard some one calling him, and a voice said: “I saw 
you when you told some one. . . . Since you have told your 
mother — very well; if you have anything to eat, eat it,” i.e. 
consume what substance you now possess. Mpobe made his 
property last out several years, and when Death came for 
him the next time, told him he had not yet finished. Death 
then went away, and Mpobe hid himself in the forest, thinking 
that so he might escape. Death tracked him down, and again 
he made excuse, saying that he had not yet consumed his 
property, whereat Death said: “ Make haste and finish it then, 
for I want to kill you.” Mpobe returned home and tried a 
fresh hiding-place every day, but finding all his efforts vain, 
went back to his house and resigned himself to his fate. Next 
time the inevitable question was repeated, he replied, “‘ I have 
finished up everything,” and his visitor rejoined: “ Very 
good — since you have finished, die! ?} — and Mpobe died. 

The Kingdom of the Dead is here called Magombe; the 
incident of the hunter reaching it through following an animal 
into a hole occurs elsewhere, e.g., in an uncollected Yao tale, 
which was mentioned to me in conversation many years ago, 
but of which I have never succeeded in obtaining a copy. But 
the idea is one so likely to suggest itself to the primitive mind 
that we need not look for evidence of derivation. 

Death is also personified in a curious tale recorded by P. 
Capus “ from the Basumbwa, a tribe living at the south- 
western corner of the Victoria Nyanza. Here Death is called 
Lufu or (with the augmentative) Lirufu. Men who die herd 
his cattle for him — apparently in the upper world. A man 
died and left two sons, the younger of whom took the inheri- 


tance to himself, giving his elder brother only three cows and 
two slaves, and making him the herdsman. While he was 
out with his younger brother’s cattle, he met his father, who 
told him to drive his beasts home early on the morrow and 
meet him at the same place. The father was herding Death’s 
cattle, and, in the evening, drove them home along a road 
which passed through a great opening in the earth. On arriv- 
ing, they seem to have met with people, who asked: “ Have 
you brought another? ”— but nothing more is said about these, 
and he hid his son for the night. In the morning Death, the 
“Great Chief,” came out. One side of him was entirely 
decayed, so much so that “ caterpillars ” (nshimi) dropped off 
it; the other was sound. His servants washed and dressed 
the wounds, and he uttered a curse: “ He who goes trading 
to-day, will be robbed. She who is about to bring forth will 
die with her child. He who cultivates to-day will lose his 
crops. He who goes into the Bush will be eaten by a lion.” 
On the following day, Death’s servants washed his sound side, 
perfumed and anointed him, and he reversed the maledictions 
of the day before. The young man’s father said to him: “ If 
you had only come to-day, you would have become very rich. 
As it is, the best thing you can do is to return home and leave 
your brother in possession of the inheritance, for it is evident 
that your destiny is to be poor.” 

At first sight, one is tempted to think that Death regularly 
distributes good and evil fortune to mankind on alternate days. 
But in that case it is difficult to see why the father should have 
told his son to come on that particular day, and then deplored 
the fact, as though he himself had not been responsible. We 
must therefore suppose, either that the event was an excep- 
tional one, or that the arrangement was not made known to 
all Lirufu’s subjects. 

Kalunga, or Kalunga-ngombe (“ Kalunga of the Cattle ”’) 
is the name for Death (“ the King of the Shades ”) among the 


Mbundu of Angola,** but it is also used for the place of the 
dead, the sea, and (as by the Herero and Kwanyama) for a 
Supreme Being. Heli Chatelain gives a story “* in which a 
young hero, Ngunza Kilundu kia Ngunza, on hearing that his 
younger brother Maka is dead, announces his intention of 
fighting Kalunga-ngombe. He set a trap in the bush and 
waited near it with his gun, till he heard a voice calling from 
the trap: “I am dying, dying! ” He was about to fire when 
the voice said: “ Do not shoot, come to free me.” Ngunza 
asked who was speaking, and the answer came: “I am Ka- 
lunga-ngombe.” “ Thou art Kalunga-ngombe who killed my 
younger brother Maka? ” The answer was: “I am not ever 
killing wantonly; people are brought to me. Well, I give thee 
four days; on the fifth, go and fetch thy younger brother in 
Kalunga.” Ngunza went and was welcomed by Kalunga- 
ngombe, who made him sit down beside him. One after 
another, the dead arrived from the upper world. One, on 
being questioned as to the cause of his death, said that some 
one who was envious of his wealth had bewitched him. 
Another, a woman, said her husband had killed her for un- 
faithfulness, and so on. Kalunga-ngombe said, not unreason- 
ably: “ Thou seest, Ngunza Kilundu kia Ngunza, it is not I 
that am always killing mankind; the hosts of Ndongo” (in 
other words, “ the people of Angola ”), “ they are brought to 
me. ‘Therefore go and fetch thy younger brother.” But 
Maka refused to come, saying that in Kalunga the conditions 
were much better than on earth. ‘ What I have here, on earth 
perchance shall I have it? ” So Ngunza had to return without 
him. Kalunga-ngombe gave him “seeds of manioc, maize, 
Kaffir-corn,” and other things —a list too long to reproduce 
— to plant on earth, and told him: “In eight days, I will go to 
visit thee at thy home.” When he arrived, he found that 
Ngunza had fled, going to the east, and he followed him from 
place to place till he came up with him, when he announced 


that he was going to kill him. Ngunza protested: “ Thou 
canst not kill me, because I did no crime against thee. Thou 
ever sayest: ‘ People are brought to me, I don’t kill any one.’ 
Well, now, why dost thou pursue me to the east? ” Kalunga- 
ngombe, for all answer, attacked him with his hatchet, but 
Negunza “turned into a Kituta spirit,” and so, presumably, 
passed out of his power. 

Several points in the above are obscure, perhaps because 
the story was taken from “ poorly-written ” notes of an in- 
formant who died before Chatelain prepared his book for the 
press. It does not appear why Kalunga should have intended 
to kill Ngunza— perhaps the intimation of his visit was 
intended to convey a warning, which the latter disregarded; 
but, in that case, why does Kalunga fail to explain why he 
departs from his usual custom? Perhaps, as in the case of 
Mpobe, he had told Ngunza to say nothing about what he had 
seen in the underworld, and Ngunza had disobeyed him; but 
of this there is no hint in the story as it stands. The matter of 
the Kituta, too, calls for further explanation. A Kituta or 
Kianda”' is a spirit who “rules over the water and is fond of 
great trees and of hill-tops ”; one of a class of beings to be 
discussed in a later chapter. 

The Ne (a Kru tribe of the Ivory Coast) * introduce a 
personification of Death into several of their folk-tales. In 
one he is an eight-headed monster, one of whose heads is 
cut off by a boy, on hearing that his mother is dead, a parallel 
to Ngunza’s attack on Death. The boy escapes from the 
monster but is caught in a bush-fire and perishes, his soul 
escaping in the form of a hawk. This is why hawks are always 
seen hovering over bush-fires. 

Another Ne story, is a variant of many well-known tales 
dealing with cannibals. A young girl goes to Death’s 
village and is sheltered in the hut of an old woman. Death, 
however, discovers her, and refuses to let her have anything 


to eat till she tells his name —a link with another group of 
stories *” not specially well represented in Africa. She is 
helped by a bird, who betrays the name to her. Ultimately 
Death’s big toe is cut off, and all the people he has devoured 
issue from it. This last incident is found in tales from such dis- 
tant parts as Basutoland (“ Masilo and Masilonyane”) and 
Kilimanjaro, and we shall have to recur to it in a later chapter. 

The Ne have another legend connected with Death which, 
as far as I know, has not yet been recorded from any other 
quarter. A man applied to Blenyiba, the great fetish of Ca- 
valla, for a charm to make the approach of Death impossible. 
Blenyiba gave him a stone to block the path by which alone 
the enemy could approach; but as the man was transporting it 
to the spot, he met Nemla — the small antelope locally equiv- 
alent to Brer Rabbit, who offered to help him to carry it. The 
treacherous Nemla, while pretending to help, sang a spell 
which made the rock immovable, leaving the path open, as it 
is to this day, “ and the rock is yet alive to testify of it.” 

In the next chapter, we shall meet with other legends bear- 
ing on the Underworld regarded as the abode of the dead. 
Perhaps some of those just recounted might seem to be more 
appropriately treated in connection with Ancestral Ghosts. 

But, as already pointed out, the boundaries between the 
various departments of our subject are extremely difficult to 
draw, and the latter are apt to run into one another. No 
attempt has been made, throughout this work, to adhere to a 
rigidly scientific classification. 


HE BELIEF in the continued existence of human be- 

ings after death, and their influence on the affairs of 

the survivors is really the bed-rock fact in Bantu and Negro 
religion. Even where there is a developed cult of definite 
spiritual powers, as for example in Uganda and Dahome, 
these have in many cases grown out of ancestral ghosts, and, 
as has been already remarked, many beings which now seem 
to be Nature Powers pure and simple, may have had a like 
origin. This is not to deny that there are nature spirits which 
have been such from the beginning, or that the two conceptions 
may sometimes have been fused into one personality, as per- 
haps, for instance, in Leza, but only to repeat once more what 
has so often been said as to the difficulty of exact classification. 
Some Africans, for example, the Twi and Ewe, seem to 
have arrived at something like a coherent philosophy of the 
soul. There is the shade, which either haunts the neighbour- 
hood of the grave, or sinks into the subterranean abode of the 
ghosts (kuzimu), and the soul (called in Twi ‘ kra’), which 
is reincarnated in one of the person’s descendants.” But it 
may be doubted whether this doctrine is everywhere consciously 
and clearly held, and one must be prepared for vague and 
sometimes contradictory statements. Sometimes it is only those 
who have died a violent death who are said to haunt the upper 
earth; sometimes those who have gone down to the Under- 
world are believed to come back from time to time. In Nya- 
saland, the ghost is thought to remain near the grave for some 

time, perhaps a year or two, and then to depart, probably into 
the Underworld. 


Ghosts, apparently, are not immortal — indeed, if we may 
believe the account given to the Rev. J. Raum ®* by the Wa- 
chaga, they are kept alive by the offerings of the living. This 
account is one of the most detailed I have seen, and probably 
represents ideas current, though not recorded, elsewhere. The 
ancestral spirits are called in Chaga warimu (or warumu) and 
defined as the “shadows” (sherisha) of people who have 
died. (The shadow is often identified with the life, or soul, 
or one of the souls.) The ghosts are so called, say the 
Wachaga, “ because they have no bones ” — they look like 
living people, only you cannot take hold of them, and when 
you see them they are apt to vanish suddenly and instantane- 
ously. Some are like old men, some like men in their prime; 
there are women and children among them: in fact, it would 
seem as if every one remained at the age he or she had reached 
at death. They live underground much as they had done on 
earth; they have their chiefs and their tribal assemblies; and 
when a man dies he passes to the dwelling-place of his own 
clan, while the clan remains with its own section of the tribe. 
But not all the ghosts are to be found in this abode — only 
the fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers of the people 
now living. These are called the “upper” (or “ recent ”) 
ghosts (warimu wa uwe) or “those who are known” (wa- 
ishiwo), their names and standing being still remembered. 
They partake of the offerings made by their descendants, and 
it is implied that these keep them alive. The great-great- 
grandfather and previous generations get crowded out from 
the sacrifices by the later comers; they are unable to keep up 
their strength and sink down into a lower region. These are 
called wakilengeche or sometimes warimu wangiinduka, “ the 
ghosts who turn back.” Unlike the waishiwo, who freely com- 
municate with the living, they never show themselves on the 
upper earth, though they haunt their old homes secretly and 
make people ill in order to get sacrifices out of them. But the 


oldest among them cannot even do this; they can no longer 
reach the sacrifices, and “ their life is done ”; they have “ gone 
to pieces” and have no further connection with living men. 
These are called the walenge. The three regions of the dead 
are clearly distinguished in the legend of the Heaven-Tree.® 
One meets elsewhere with indications that the ghosts are not 
supposed to be immortal, but I do not think I have anywhere 
else found so clear and definite a statement on the subject as 
this. The usual name for the underground abode of the 
dead — kuzimu or some cognate *— is the locative form of a 
root very widely distributed in the Bantu languages, with the 
meaning of an ancestral ghost. Thus the Anyanja have the 
word mzimu, pl. mi-zimu (though, as we have seen, they 
sometimes use “ Mulungu ” in the same sense), and it survives 
in Swahili in the phrase ana wazimu (“he is mad ” — liter- 
ally, “he has spirits”), though otherwise obsolete. In 
Zulu, also, it is nearly obsolete, being used as a collective only 
in one particular phrase: the expressions now current are ama- 
dhlozi, of which the derivation is not very clear,’ and ama- 
tongo, manifestly connected with wbu-tongo, “ sleep,” and ap- 
plied to ghosts when they appear in dreams, while the other 
term is more generally used of spirits which show themselves 
in other ways, e.g. in the form of snakes, etc. The two names 
denote the same class of being, only viewed under different 
aspects, and, even so, no very exact distinction can be drawn 
between them, as Zulus use the words, to a great extent, inter- 

It should be noted that mzimu and its cognates are not, as a 
rule (Swahili is an exception) treated as belonging to the per- 
son-class — perhaps from a dim feeling that a ghost is not 
more, but less, than a human being. Such a feeling seems to 
come out in the Chaga beliefs already detailed, though it is not 
quite consistent with the dread entertained of the ghosts’ ma- 
leficent power. But it may be that the change of concord-merely 


indicates the idea of a disembodied mon-human, but not neces- 
sarily imfra-human personality. Animals, by the bye, are 
usually included in the person-class: they are intelligences 
invested with bodies, and we seldom, if ever, find them sharply 
contrasted with human beings.* This is a point to which we 
must return when speaking of Totemism. 

We shall have to consider, later on, whether, and how far, 
we have to deal, in Africa, with spirits which were not, origi- 
nally, the ghosts of the dead. Certainly, it is the latter which 
bulk largest in the people’s imagination; and, as we have al- 
ready seen in the case of local gods, some spirits which at first 
seem to have quite a different nature, may ultimately be traced 
back to such an origin. 

We cannot say that ghosts are divided into benignant and 
malignant — except in so far as a man is supposed to retain 
after death the qualities which distinguished him during his 
lifetime. Less weight seems accorded to this consideration 
than one might expect, at any rate in the case of bad people — 
perhaps the maxim De mortuis is more thoroughly acted upon 
than by ourselves. At any rate, what is far more frequently 
and emphatically asserted is that the behaviour of the ghosts 
largely depends on the treatment they receive from their sur- 
viving relatives. When they send locusts —as Chipoka did 
- to Mlanje in 1894 ‘— or sickness, or other disasters, it is to 
remind the living of neglected duties. 

It is hardly true to say that the predominant feeling with 
which the ghosts are regarded is one of terror and dislike, and 
that their cult is solely determined by. fear. Many stories 
give evidence of affection surviving the grave and prompting 
interference on behalf of the living. The statements of Cal- 
laway’s informants on this head are very interesting. On the 
other hand, the same evidence shows that their ethics, like 
those of their surviving descendants, have not outgrown the 
tribal standpoint. A ghost is not expected to care for any 

ye : Se et ‘ 
thule sempyTi s 

“‘eldiaiv jon ) bavorg 
paeraciong TottA 


1. Carved post (kigango) set up by the Giryama 
on or near the place where the head of the family 
is buried. 

2. Giryama shrines for the spirits. Each small 
post represents a deceased member of the family. 
Offerings of beer are poured into a pot sunk in the 
ground (not visible in photograph). 

After photographs by Prof. A. Werner. 

ail Nt 


' f ‘ 
| | | | | : 1 ; « >. ’ 
| : 
a | | 
‘ - : 
i ‘ 
i . 
| j 
| i 
| Ror pale. ~~ 
| } 


outside his own family; and the family do not feel that any 
attentions are due to unrelated ghosts. This was avowedly the 
reason why Unkulunkulu was not worshipped — there were 
none living who knew themselves to be of his blood.* Of 
course, the ghosts of chiefs or famous medicine-men will be 
honoured by people outside their own families, and these, as 
we have seen in Nyasaland and Uganda, may attain the status 
of gods. 

The Wachaga do not sacrifice to any ghost more than three 
generations back — that is, expressly and by name — for one 
gathers from the account already quoted that, if the Waki- 
lengeche can by their own exertions secure a share in the offer- 
ings, it rests with them to do so. There is one exception, 
however: each clan sacrifices to the ancestor who first settled and 
planted in the Kilimanjaro country, when the tribe migrated 
thither from the north, and whose name, in some cases at least, 
has been preserved.° 

The Wachaga believe, that while the spirits can influence 
the course of events on earth, they, in their turn, can be affected 
by revolutions in the affairs of the living. Thus, the coming of 
the Europeans to East Africa has made itself felt in the 
Underworld. What, exactly, Raum’s informant meant by 
saying that “ the white men, when they came here, also came to 
the ancestral spirits,” and that the latter have to pay taxes to 
them, is not very clear, but no doubt he felt it to be a legiti- 
mate inference from the hard times experienced by the living. 
“It is said: Alas! even among the ghosts there is misery, O 
ye people! If you see an old woman of the spirits, she looks 
dirty; they are ragged, and they have grown thin. Those who 
are carried off by the spirits in dreams, by night, always say 
so, and so do the diviners.” As to this carrying off of people 
— the ghosts of dead Wachaga are not content with merely 
appearing in dreams to their relatives —— we shall have more 
to say presently. 


The spirit-world is reached most easily, as we have seen, 
through caves or holes in the earth. The Wachaga speak of 
gates leading thither — some say there are two “in the east, 
where sky and earth join.” *° One of these gives entrance to 
heaven, the other “ to the ghosts.” The distinction is remark- 
able, and is also found in a legend already quoted, where the 
two gates are located, not on the distant horizon, but on Kili- 
manjaro mountain.” Here, those passing by the ghosts’ gate 
see a blazing fire within, a touch which may be due to the infil- 
tration of Moslem ideas from the coast; though, if there were 
any warrant for connecting this gate with the west (of which 
there is no hint in our authority) it might equally well be sug- 
gested by the flaming sunset. 

A widow who had lost her only son once made her way to 
the eastern gate and was so importunate that the Chief of the 
Ghosts at length consented to restore her son, whom she found 
awaiting her on her return home. Tradition has preserved 
the names of various people who went to the spirit-land and 
returned, perhaps persons who recovered from cataleptic 
trances. There is a song sung by young girls: 

“Would I might go, like Kidova’s daughter 
To seek the spirits beyond the water — 
To go I were fain, 
And behold, and return again. 


The Bapedi (a branch of the Bechwana living in the 
Eastern Transvaal) believed that the cave of Marimatle, from 
which the human race originally issued (as elsewhere from 
Kapirimtiya), was also the entrance to the spirit-world.”* And 
we find in so many different places, that we may presume 
the legend to be or have been current all over Bantu Africa, 
accounts of men who, pursuing some animal into a burrow, 
have, like Mpobe, reached the abode of the dead. Thus the 
Zulus say that one Uncama™ followed a porcupine into its 


hole and, after a day and a night came upon a village, where 
he saw smoke rising and people moving about, and heard dogs 
baying and children crying: “all things resembled those which 
are above, mountains, precipices, and rivers.” He did not 
wait to make a closer examination but said: “ Let me not go to 
these people, for I do not know them; perhaps they will kill 
me,” and returned with all speed, to find his own funeral being 
celebrated when he reached his house. Another man, Um- 
katshana,’ had a similar experience when hunting a buck, but 
went on till he actually met “the people who are beneath ” 
face to face, saw them milking their cattle, and recognised 
one of his own friends among them. “ They said to him: ‘Go 
home! Do not stay here!’ So he went home again.” The 
Wairamba,”* in Eastern Unyamwezi, also tell of a man who 
followed a porcupine — this time a wounded one — under- 
ground, and came to the village of the dead, where he was 
kindly welcomed and met various deceased relatives, while the 
porcupine he had speared turned out to be his own sister. It 
was explained to him that, while the ghosts enjoy a happy and 
peaceful life in the Underworld, with cattle feeding in rich 
pastures and abundance of almost everything they need, they 
have no grain and therefore have to come up to earth in the 
shape of animals and steal it from the gardens. He was there- 
fore charged with messages to the living, desiring them to 
bring offerings of porridge and beer to the graves from time 
to time. (This is in marked contrast to several other stories of 
the kind, where it is made a sime qua non that the visitor shall 
never tell his experiences.) He was also assured that his sister 
bore no malice, “ because you did it in ignorance, and, besides, 
her wound will soon heal down here.” 

This story is told to explain how the custom of offerings 
to the dead was instituted; and the fact strikes me as peculiar, 
because elsewhere it does not seem to be felt that the custom 
needs any explanation. It is of immemorial antiquity, and, given 


the belief that the dead continue to live, somewhere in or near 
their graves, a life not very different from their previous state 
of existence, its utility is surely self-evident. 

The introduction of the porcupine is interesting, because we 
learn from Messrs Melland and Cholmeley *’ that the Waku- 
luwe have a sect or guild of porcupine-hunters (waleli) who 
own that they visit the village of the fisinzwa (ghosts) when 
they enter the porcupine’s burrows, and “ that the Chief of 
the village is called Lungabalwa and is most hospitable to them 
and never lets them go away empty-handed, always giving 
them a porcupine.” 

No doubt the appearance and habits of the porcupine are 
sufficient to account for this connection with the unseen world. 
He certainly looks uncanny; he burrows in the ground, and, 
while very destructive in the gardens, he is never, or rarely, 
seen by daylight. Natives firmly believe he has the power of 
shooting his quills at an assailant. 

But the most usual mode of access to the spirit-world is 
through the lakes and smaller sheets of water in which the 
mountainous Chaga country abounds.** More especially does 
this apply to the deep pools or pot-holes under a waterfall. 
Through such a “linn,” the ghosts are apt to ascend and seize 
on any sheep or goats found grazing within a convenient dis- 
tance, and pick up any wooden troughs (used in making beer) 
which people may have left lying about. *® Or if a man goes 
too near the bank, he may find himself seized and pulled into 
the water. It is not stated whether this means actual and final 
drowning, but we may infer such to be the case, for it is be- 
lieved that, if you happen to have a knife or other sharp instru- 
ment by you, and can give yourself a cut in time, you will 
escape, since the ghosts will only accept an unblemished victim. 
Some say, however, that this never happens now * — at any 
rate in the districts of Kisangada and Ofurunye, where the 
ghosts were formerly a great nuisance, coming from the pools 


in the Msangachi valley to steal food from people’s houses at 
night. It was proposed that a beast should be sacrificed’ to 
them, but some said that this would be no use in the end and 
that it would be better to find a childless man who should put a 
curse on the pools — not with “ bell, book and candle,” but 
with the “ cursing-bell ” and “ cursing-pot.”** (A childless 
man would have nothing to lose by the vengeance of the 
ghosts.) He accordingly took one of these implements in each 
hand and pronounced his commination: 

“Tf ye will not cease from troubling the folk, 
Perish and die away — sink down and rot... . 
But if ye will cease and leave them in quiet, 
Ye shall continue and be preserved! ” 

This ceremony had the desired effect. 

But the ghosts are also believed to remove people tempora- 
rily to the Underworld and restore them. Sometimes during 
the night a sleeper will disappear, leaving only his clothes on 
the bed.” These must not be touched, nor must anyone call 
him, otherwise he will never come back. There is apparently 
no hostile intention; he is transported to the Underworld in 
order to be told what the spirits intend to do, or what they wish 
the living to do, and, if he behaves himself discreetly, no harm 
will happen to him. But he must not show undue curiosity or 
make remarks on what he sees: the shades are very sensitive 
to criticism — especially of their household arrangements. 
““For the Ancestors eat very nasty things. Their children go 
out to search for food and come home with crickets and moths ” 
—presumably in the absence of offerings from above. Anyone 
who shows surprise at this or other details of the cooking will 
be detained for ever (and perhaps beaten as well) so that he 
may not talk and put the ghosts to shame among the living. 
More tactful visitors are sent back with whatever communi- 
cations are deemed desirable, and it is from these and the di- 


viners (walashi) that people get to know what is happening 
among the ghosts. 

The lakes mentioned are personified in a very curious way. 
In old times, if wars or raids were going on, they could be 
heard shouting: “ O-o—o! be easy. We shall drive away 
the enemy! ” After the invaders had retreated, the shrill 
cries of joy raised by the spirit-women arose from under the 
water.”* A story which in its present form must be quite re- 
cent, tells how a certain pool claimed human victims.* A child 
disappeared and was sought for in vain; at last a voice was 
heard from the pool, ordering the parents to bring offerings 
of food and leave them on the bank. Next day the offerings 
had disappeared and the child’s dead body lay in their place. 
A certain European announced his intention of attacking the 
monster; he plunged into the pool and fired his rifle, when 
a door opened in the bottom. He fired again — seven times 
in all — and at each shot a door opened. He entered and en- 
gaged in a desperate struggle, from which he narrowly escaped 
with his life. He made another attempt and again penetrated 
the doors, but returned to the surface so badly burnt that he 
died in a few days. No precise details of the struggle are 
given, and we have no means of judging whether, and how far, 
the story is based on an actual occurrence. It might have been 
suggested by some accident to a daring climber in an active 
volcanic crater. 

Nowadays, says the narrator of the cursing incident, the 
ghosts live in the pools and the “ clan-groves,” * in the latter 
case, apparently above ground. But it would seem that they 
sometimes come out to dance. A man heard them, one night, 
not far from his house, and, thinking it was a merry-making of 
his neighbours, went out to join them, in spite of his wife’s 
protests. He soon discovered his mistake, but got home again 
with no worse experience than a fright.** The Wadoe (a tribe 
inhabiting the. mainland opposite. Zanzibar) speak of the 


haunted woods of Kolelo, where “on some days the drums 
sound, and you hear shrill cries like those raised by women 
at a wedding.” Certain open glades in this forest, where the 
ground is smooth and covered with white sand, “ just as if 
people had gone there to sweep it,” are the places where the. 
ghosts assemble.” The spirit-drums and other instruments 
(horns and flutes) are also heard in Nyasaland * and in the 
Delagoa Bay region, where people even profess to have heard 
the words of their songs. Here the invisible performers would 
stop when the traveller tried to catch sight of them, and the 
music would begin again just behind him.” 

M. Junod finds that Thonga ideas as to the abode of the 
ghosts are “ very confused, even contradictory.” Some hold 
to the notion of an Underworld — “a great village under the 
earth, where everything is white (or pure);*° there they till 
the fields, reap great harvests and live in abundance, and they 
take of this abundance to give to their descendants on the earth. 
They have also a great many cattle.” This may not seem com- 
patible with the need for frequent offerings, but the Thonga do 
not take the Chaga view that these are actually necessary to 
keep the spirits in existence. ‘“ The gods do not ask for real 
food or wealth; they only consider the mhamba (offering) as 
a token of love from their descendants and as a sign that these 
have not forgotten them, but will do their duty towards 
them.” ” 

Others think that the dead somehow continue to exist in 
the grave, which is thought of as their house, and others, again, 
that they live in the “ sacred woods” (equivalent to the Chaga 
‘clan groves ”) in much the same way as they did on earth. 
They “lead their family life under a human form, parents 
and children, even little children, who are carried on their 
mothers’ shoulders.” They sometimes appear to the liv- 
ing in this way, though not very frequently nowadays;* 
formerly they were often seen “ marching in file, going to 


draw water from the well. They had their own road. They 
were short of stature, the women carrying babies in the ntehe 
(prepared goat-skin), but, strange to say, head downwards.” 

These sacred groves are really ancient burial-places — 
among the Thonga, of the chiefs only — elsewhere, as, I 
think, in Nyasaland, of people generally. Here one sees, 
dotted about the country, groves consisting of large and shady 
trees (they are carefully protected from bush fires), among 
which are the graves. Unless these are of recent date, there 
is nothing to distinguish them, except some earthen pots, whole 
or broken. These groves are avoided, as might be expected, 
by the natives; but I never heard of any special beliefs or tra- 
ditions connected with them. 

The Thonga groves are tabu to all except the “ guardian of 
the wood,” or priest, who is the descendant of the chiefs buried 
there and has charge of all the arrangements for sacrificing to 
and propitiating them. Terrible things have happened to 
unauthorised persons trespassing there. One woman who 
plucked a sala fruit ** and cracked it against a tree-trunk, found 
it full of little vipers which addressed her as follows: “ Go on, 
eat away! Haven’t we seen you every day picking sala? And 
these sala are ours and not yours. What shall we gods have to 
eat? Have we not made this tree to grow? ” “ And she went 
home and died, because she had been cursed by the gods.” * 

The same fate — one cannot but think most undeservedly — 
befell another woman, who found, as she thought, a small 
child picking berries in a tree and carried him home on her 
back, as he seemed to be lost. But when she reached her hut 
and wanted to put him down to get warm by the fire, he could 
not be removed from her back. The neighbours came to the 
conclusion that he was no child, but a spirit, and sent for a 
diviner, who “ threw the bones ” and “ at once knew what was 
wrong,” but failed to get him off. So they suggested that she 
should carry him back where she had found him. The guard- 

wmong the Thongs, of the: 
renee in seman of 


ropitiating them ge ape things have 7 
ete totter aed t eae there. One woman who. 
ed it against a tree-trunk, found 
f, | of litte vipers which addressed her as follows: “tje gee 
‘aven’t we seen you every day picking sala? And 

a pa . = 4 ee a 

LUCK ei rs Oar ah sia CTAC 

c. died, because she had been exreed by 
ihe sate fate — onecannot but think mieaat 
, who found, as ite 
erries,in a tree and € 
Heck. as he aoebe to be lost. But 
ety ted to put him down to get. rie 
gat be removed from her back. ihe 
cometusion that he was no child, bat 
, who “ threw the boanen at 



ian of the forest, after a severe rebuke to the poor woman, 
sacrificed a white hen on her behalf, and interceded for her 
with the offended powers. “She did not do it on purpose. 
She thought it was a child; she did not know it was a god.” 
While this sacrifice was being offered, the being suddenly 
“left her back, disappeared, and no one knew how or whither 
he went. As for the woman, she trembled violently and died.” 

This story offers no encouragement to those who would 
befriend waifs and strays. 

Other legends tell what happened to people who cut wood, 
or killed snakes in the sacred places, or built their huts too near 
them. The old priest in charge of the Libombo forest was 
struck down, seemingly by apoplexy, when he went to see what 
was being done with a certain tree obstructing a road which was 
being made by the Portuguese authorities. His own account 
of the matter was, “ The gods came to me, saying: ‘ What are 
you doing here? You ought to have stayed at home!’ I fell 
backward unconscious and remained in that state for four 
days. I could not eat; they had closed my mouth. I could not 
speak! My people picked me up and carried me home.” He 
recovered after a sacrifice had been offered by his eldest son; 
but the gods were not entirely placated till after further cere- 
monies, and he carefully refrained from using the Portuguese 
road in future.” 

From Kiziba,* on the western side of Lake Victoria, comes 
a tale connecting the sacred groves, in a somewhat unexpected 
way, with the tailed Heaven-dwellers. A certain man married 
a strange woman whom he met on the road as she walked 
alone, carrying a royal drum. (This circumstance is not fur- 
ther explained.) She told him not on any account to enter the 
Spirits? Wood, and, of course, he did so. There he met with 
people —no doubt the ancestors— who, whether out of 
impish mischief, or in order to bring about the punishment for 
his disobedience, informed him that his wife had a tail; and 


he could not rest till he had convinced himself that such 
was indeed the case. She then disappeared, never to return; 
but a voice from the haunted wood pointed the moral: “ You 
listened to injurious reports against your neighbor and wanted 
to see the matter with your own eyes.” This belongs to the 
familiar class of “ Vanishing Wife ” stories; but it contains 
some unusual features. 

Nearly everywhere we find the belief that the dead some- 
times come back in the form of animals. There does not seem 
to be any idea of permanent reincarnation, only of occasional 
appearances, so that this does not constitute a distinct category 
of spirits — the animals may be supposed to come up from the 
Underworld, or out of the grave, or show themselves in the 
sacred woods, like the old chief of Libombo,”* who appeared to 
his descendant, the sacrificing priest, in the shape of a green 
puff-adder. “I myself,” said Nkolele, the priest in question, 
“ went into the wood with the offering I had prepared for the 
gods, and then it came out. It was a snake . . . the Master 
of the Forest, Mombo-wa-Ndlopfu (Elephant’s Face). He 
came out and circled round all those present. The women 
rushed away terrified. But he had only come to thank us. 
He didn’t come to bite us. He thanked us, saying: ‘ Thank 
you! thank you! So youare still there, my children! You came 
to load me with presents and to bring me fruit. It is well! ? 
. . . It was an enormous viper, as thick as my leg down 
there ” — at the ankle. “It came close up to me and kept 
quite still, never biting me. I looked at it. It said: ‘ Thank 
you! So you are still there, my grandson! ? ” 

Nkolele then made his prayer, which he gives at length. 
He may have meant that the snake’s look and movement con- 
veyed to his mind the impression of the above words; but I 
am inclined to think, considering the quite genuine subjective 
experiences of some European children, that he fully believed 
he had heard it speaking. A friend of my own told me that, 


at the age of eight or nine, she was addressed by a cockchafer 
in a French garden. He said: “ Petite fille, écoute! ” but 
though she listened attentively, she heard no more; her imagi- 
nation, she supposed, had not been lively enough to supply 
the matter of his discourse. 

The serpent-shape is the one most frequently chosen by the 
ghosts — perhaps for the reason suggested by Wundt,” that 
these reptiles are associated in the native mind with the mag- 
gots found in decomposing corpses, and are supposed, e.g. 
in Madagascar, to be the form assumed by the soul on escaping 
from the body, a notion easily transferred, where classification 
is not very scientific, to all creeping things. But Madagascar 
is rather Indonesian than African in character, and I do not 
know that this particular belief is found anywhere in Africa 
itself. It seems simpler to take the view that any animal seen 
on or near a grave might easily be accepted as a new embodi- 
ment of the dead man, especially if, as a snake may sometimes 
do, it actually crawls out from the earth of the grave itself. 
One of Callaway’s native informants says: “ If he observe a 
snake on the grave, the man who went to look at the grave 
says on his return, ‘ O, I have seen him to-day, basking in the 
sun on the top of the grave! ?” *° 

The Zulus say that only certain kinds of snakes are ama- 
dhlozi. Some, including at least four poisonous kinds, “ are 
known to be mere beasts: it is impossible for them ever to be 
men... they are always beasts.” ** (One of these is the 
puff-adder, which, we have seen, the Thonga of Libombo rec- 
ognise as a spirit-snake, but it may be another species.) Of 
those which can “ become men,” some, but not all, are harm- 
less; but not every individual of these species is necessarily an 
ancestor. Those which are, may be known by their behaviour 
when they enter a hut — and the fact that they do so at all is 
presumptive evidence of their character; they do not eat frogs 
or mice; they remain quiet until discovered, and are not afraid 


of men, “ neither does a snake that is an itongo excite fear in 
men .. . but there is a happy feeling, and it is felt that the 
chief of the village has come.” On the other hand, “ A mere 
snake, when it comes into a hut looks from side to side and is 
afraid of men: and it is killed, because it is known to be a wild 
snake.” The “ human ” snakes, being fed and never molested, 
become tame — which may account for the behaviour of the 
puff-adder which was Mombo-wa-Ndlopfu. On the other 
hand, the Yao appear to think that when the dead come back 
as snakes, it is with the distinct intention of annoying the liv- 
ing — hence they may be killed without scruple, to stop the 
nuisance.” If a Zulu, in ignorance, kills an itongo-snake, it 
comes back in a dream to complain, and “a sin-offering is 
sacrificed.” ** 

Other creatures serving as the embodiments or vehicles of 
departed spirits are the mantis,“ some lizards (one kind es- 
pecially said to be the amatongo of old women), lions, leopards, 
hyenas (these are deceased wizards), etc.*° 


LMOST identical tales are told, as we have already 
had occasion to remark, about people who have ascended 
to heaven by means of a rope, or otherwise, and those who 
have gone down to the subterranean kuzimu and returned. 
Yet seldom, if ever, do we find it stated that the ancestral 
spirits live in the sky. Those who go there have some errand 
either to the Supreme Being or to a distinct set of Heaven- 
dwellers quite apart from ordinary human beings, and it is 
these whom they encounter and not their deceased friends. 
The country of the dead, on the other hand, is reached, usu- 
ally, through a cave, or a hole in the ground, such as an 
animal’s burrow, or by plunging to the bottom of a pool. 
The Wachaga speak of several gateways, probably caverns, 
which formerly existed in certain specified localities, but are 
now closed: this seems to be a tradition distinct from that of the 
gates on the eastern horizon, mentioned in the last chapter. 
In old times it was possible for a man who had lost all his chil- 
dren and feared the extinction of his line to enter one of these 
gateways and lay his case before the ghosts. They would hear 
his request and send him home, with the promise of another 
child. But the number of applicants became so great, that the 
ancestors grew weary of attending to them and closed two of 
the entrances — a statement which may preserve the memory 
of some volcanic disturbance. The third remained open for 
some time longer, but this approach, too, was finally cut off, 
and nowadays no one can even find the way to it.” 
The details of the pilgrimage thus made by bereaved par- 


ents are interesting, because of their resemblance to some 
features of a story familiar to us all from childhood and al- 
ready referred to in our first chapter —the “ Frau Holle ” 
of Grimm’s Kinder- und Haus-Miarchen. There are numerous 
African variants of this,” some of which will be discussed pres- 
ently; their mythological background is unmistakably the same 
as that of the legend now before us. Having passed through 
the gateway, the father came to a door in a kraal-fence, where 
he sat down and waited till an old woman appeared. She led 
him into a hut and hid him in the sleeping-compartment. At 
noon “ when the sun rests ” —the hour for apparitions in hot 
countries — he saw a band of children passing, led by a man 
who seemed to be their guardian, and recognised among them 
his own lost little ones. He pointed them out to the old wo- 
man and then she sent him away, first asking him whether he 
would rather pass through the “ sewage-door ” or the “ sugar- 
cane door.” If he chose the latter, he was thrown up — in 
some way not explained in our text — through the fireplace, 
was burnt by the fire and cut by the sugar-cane and reached his 
home only to die. If he declared for the less inviting alter- 
native, he found. himself in his own house, unhurt, and lived 
for many years thereafter. Presumably, though this is not 
stated, he found his children awaiting him, or else one of them 
was re-born shortly after. 

The belief that lakes and pools are entrances to and exits 
from the spirit-world is probably due to the frequency of 
deaths by drowning in a mountainous country where streams 
are swift and dangerous and their beds full of treacherous pot- 
holes. The mother who has been tricked into drowning her 
child throws herself into the pool after it and so reaches the 
spirit-country, as also does Maruwa, in the tale to be given 

But it is sometimes easier of access. Where the ghosts are 
believed to dwell in the sacred groves, there is at least no 


physical barrier to keep people from penetrating their haunts, 
though of course they do so at their peril. Junod gives a 
pretty story * of which the scene is laid at Machakeni, close to 
Lourengo Marques. The people had enjoyed abundant 
harvests for some years, but had become careless and neglected 
to sacrifice. So, one season, when they had as usual planted 
their sweet-potatoes and sugar-cane in the fertile marsh-land 
at the foot of the hills, they found that nothing would grow. 
Threatened with famine, they moved to the hills and planted 
there, but could get no crops. The men, one day, when out 
hunting, followed an animal down to the plain and found that 
their old gardens had produced abundantly, after all, but not 
a thing could they gather. Not one of them could get a potato 
out of the ground or detach a banana from the tree. Then the 
ghosts came out and chased them, so that they were glad to 
escape with their lives. The women, going into the forest to 
look for firewood found a bees’ nest in a hollow tree. Every- 
one who put in her hand to take out the honey, had it broken 
off at the wrist. The only one who escaped was the chief’s 
daughter, Sabulana, who refused to go near the tree. She tied 
up the bundles of wood for her companions and helped them 
to lift them to their heads. When they reached home, she 
advised that “‘ the bones should be thrown ” (the diviner con- 
sulted) to find out what should be done. The oracle directed 
Sabulana to go to the sacred grove and offer a sacrifice. Next 
morning, all the people assembled and sat down outside the 
grove: Sabulana alone dared to enter it. She found the spirits 
all seated in an open space, like the tribal chiefs and headmen 
when gathered for solemn deliberation. They asked her why 
she had come, and she replied in a song, which, as reported, 
does not seem to tell us much: 

“Tt is I, it is I, Sabulana, 
Daughter of the grass-land — 
It is I, the daughter of the grass-land, 
Sabulana, Sabulana,” 


The ancestors were delighted with her singing, and asked her 
to repeat it. They then (apparently without further question- 
ing, but perhaps we are to take the dialogue for granted) gave 
her supplies of all sorts of provisions and called their children 
to carry the loads as far as the edge of the wood, where the 
people were waiting and transported them to the village. 
Then all the women had their hands restored to them. Sabu- 
lana returned to the place where the ghosts were seated, and 
they said to her: “ Go and tell your people that they have 
sinned in that they tilled the ground and reaped the harvest 
without paying us any honour. But now let them come with 
their, baskets and bags and each one take away as much as he 
can carry on his head; for now we are glad that they have come 
back once more to pray to us. . . . We were angry with our 
children, because they ate but brought no offerings. Who, 
think you, prevented the maize from growing? It was be- 
cause you sinned over and over again.” 

In return for Sabulana’s services, she and her mother were 
made chiefs over the whole country. 

A different and very curious conception of the spirit-world 
is found in the Zulu tale of Unanana Bosele.* Two children 
and afterwards their mother were swallowed by an elephant. 
“When she reached the elephant’s stomach, she saw large 
forests and great rivers, and many high lands; on one side 
there were many rocks; and there were many people who had 
built their villages there; and many dogs and many cattle; 
all was there inside the elephant; she saw, too, her own children 
sitting there.” 

In short, as Tylor points out,” it is a description of the Zulu 
Hades. It also belongs, with a difference, to another group of 
tales which we shall have to study in some detail later, on — 
that in which people and animals are swallowed, and subse- 
quently disgorged by a monster. But instead of being released 
by a deliverer from outside, the woman cuts her way out of the 




Biers a ey 

Raced, aceasta 

Se ees 
Bees pete, ats 


Pees 3 


The ancestors were delig oe a 
te repeat it. They thie Siepeeenth hi 
ip, bat per haps We GFE RS uke che dialogue for. rt ar e 
her sa cs of all ses af provisions and called thejeet 
to carry the loads as far aa the edge of the wood, wher the 
people were waiting and transported them to: the: village. 
7 Then all the wamen had their hands restored to th m., Saba- 
lane veturned to the place where the ghosts Were seated, eam 
ste 34 ¢> her & Ge and tefl your people ‘ehaa Sou 
/ that they tiled che prone ge Reg iis rves 
sure 8 oe heroes ee tenes come. = ce 
baov ated cach one take oa ae much as he 

PLA ic te" XVI - Pera sics ose 

Hut built. cub deanna fod ae i ‘ 7 
~ Rabai Mpia, near Mombasa. After a photograph b 

Rev. K St. Aubyn Rogers. _ rene 

erviees, she and her mother 
hole country. oe 
y curious conception of bes ; a 
ce Zulu tale ee Unanana Borela® — ‘¢ 
uds their mother were swallowed ir aire! 
reached the « lep ants stomach, 8 ae 

many pete: par there were many pation wh 
“illages — and many dogs and mar AE 5 
side the elephant: sie Sa, £00, berm Oren 

lor points out,” it. wa apliae 
Hades. It also belongs, with a cae 
tales which we shall have to stam 
that in which people and ana | a, an ae 
quently disgorged bya monster. Eat msteact t cin gr Leasec . 
by a deliverer from outside, the wgmmme cuts her way out of the : 


elephant after feeding, with her children, on his internal or- 
gans. The children having told her, in answer to her ques- 
tions, that they had eaten nothing until she came — “ she said: 
‘Why did you not roast this flesh?’ They said: ‘If we eat 
this beast, will it not kill us? ? She said: ‘No; it will itself 
die; you will not die! ? She kindled a great fire. She cut the 
liver and roasted it and ate with her children. They cut also 
the flesh and roasted and ate. All the people which were 
there wondered saying: ‘O, forsooth, are they eating, whilst 
we have remained without eating anything?’ The woman 
said: ‘Yes, yes, the elephant can be eaten.” All the people 
cut and ate.” 

This somewhat repulsive tsidelt is quoted at length because 
it recurs more than once, among the animal stories, and will 
be noticed in that connection. The result is pretty much what 
might have been expected. 

“The elephant told the other beasts, saying: ‘ Fon the 
time I swallowed the woman, I have been ill; there has been 
pain in my stomach! ?” (In another ae it is stated that 
the elephant’s groans, when slices were being cut from his 
liver, were so appalling that all the animals, feeding in differ- 
ent parts of the forest, came running to see what was the 
matter.) “ The other animals said: ‘It may be, O Chief, it 
arises because there are now so many people in your stomach! ? 
And it came to pass, after a long time, that the elephant died. 
The woman divided the elephant with a knife, cutting through 
a rib with an axe. A cow came out and said: ‘ Moo, Moo, we 
at length see the country. They made the woman presents, 
some gave her cattle, some goats and some sheep. She set out 
with her children, being very rich.” 

The conception of the dead dwelling underground is illus- 
trated in the traditions, already mentioned, of Umkatshana 
and Uncama, and also in the tale of Untombi-yapansi.° Un- 
tombi-yapansi was the daughter of a chief, who also had a son, 

Usilwane, and another daughter, Usilwanekazana. Usilwane 
appears to have practised evil magic, though the narrator does 
not expressly say so. On one occasion he returned from the 
hunt, bringing with him a leopard cub. He said: “ This is 
my dog, give it milk; mix it with boiled corn and make por- 
ridge; and give it its food cold that it may eat; for it will die if 
you give it hot.” His instructions were carried out, and the 
leopard throve and grew big, to the terror of the people, who 
said: “It will devour the people. Usilwane will become an 
umtakati (wizard). Why does he domesticate a leopard and 
call it his dog? ”* His favourite sister, Usilwanekazana, was 
greatly troubled on his account; so, one day, when she hap- 
pened to be alone at home, she gave the leopard hot food, and 
he died. When her brother returned he was very angry and 
stabbed her, not, apparently in the heat of passion, but in a 
cold-blooded and deliberate way which, with his subsequent 
proceedings, tends to suggest that the people’s suspicions were 
not unfounded. He collected his sister’s blood in a pot, and, 
after washing her wound and laying her out as if she were 
asleep, killed a sheep and cooked part of it with her blood. 
When his second sister came home, he offered her some of this 
food, and she was just about to eat it, but was warned by a 
fly which came buzzing noisily, again and again, “ Bu! bu! give 
me and I will tell you.” After vainly trying to drive it away, 
she gave it some food, and it told her what had happened. 
She uncovered her sister’s body, gave one look and rushed off 
to tell her parents. Usilwane pursued her with his spear and 
had nearly overtaken her, when, seeing no escape, she cried: 
“Open, earth, that I may enter, for I am about to die this 
day! ”* The earth opened and swallowed her up, and Usil- 
wane, utterly bewildered, went back again. Untombi-yapansi 
went on her way underground till evening, but nothing is said 
as to what she saw there; then she slept and started again 
next morning. At midday, she came out of the earth and, 


standing on a mound which overlooked her father’s garden 
cried aloud: “ There will be nothing but weeping this summer. 
Usilwanekazana has been killed by Usilwane; he says she 
killed the prince’s leopard without cause.” An old woman who 
heard her repeated the words, and the chief ordered her to be 
killed “ for prophesying evil against the king’s child.” The 
same thing happened again next day, and this time an unfor- 
tunate old man who had heard the cry was sacrificed. But 
on the third day, all the people heard the girl’s voice and ran 
towards her, asking “ What do you say? ” She told them, and 
they went to Usilwane’s house, seized him and took him before 
the chief, asking what was to be done with him. The father, 
overwhelmed with grief, shame and despair, ordered them to 
close the doors — himself, his wife and his son being within — 
and set fire to the house. His daughter would seem to have ac- 
companied the men, for he now turned to her and said, “ You, 
Untombi-yapansi, go to your sister”—-a married one not 
previously mentioned — “ and live with her, for I and your 
mother shall be burnt with the house, for we do not wish to 
live, because Usilwanekazana is dead, and we too will die with 
her. . . . Take our ox, mount it and go. When you are on 
the top of the hill, you will hear the great roaring of the burn- 
ing village; do not look back, but go on.” 

On the way to her sister’s kraal, she met with an imbulu — 
described as a large lizard, but evidently able to assume a 
wholly or partly human form, which induced her, by a suc- 
cession of tricks, to let it wear her clothes and ride on her ox.” 
They arrived at the village, where the imbulu was received 
as the chief’s daughter and Untombi-yapansi, now called 
“ Dog’s tail ” (Umsilawezinja), was supposed to be her ser- 
vant and set to scare birds in the gardens. The girl who went 
with her was surprised to find that she got rid of the birds by 
merely singing — no doubt a magic song, though this is not 
stated, and the words, as given, would not seem to have any 


occult force. At noon, she left her companion, saying that she 
was going to bathe in the river. When she came out of the 
water, “with her whole body shining like brass” (this is 
supposed to be her usual appearance, but she had disguised it 
by smearing herself with earth), she struck the ground with 
a brass rod, saying, “ Come out all ye people of my father 
and cattle of my father, and my food! ” Immediately the 
earth opened, and many people, including her dead parents and 
sister, came out, bringing with them many cattle, also food 
for her, which she ate. Her own ox also came out (so that 
all who appeared were not necessarily dead); she mounted it 
and sang a song which all the people took up; she then dis- 
mounted, struck the ground again, caused the people and cattle 
to descend into it, and returned to the garden. Next day, her 
companion, whose curiosity had been aroused, followed her 
stealthily and saw what happened. She told the chief, who hid 
himself in the bushes near the river and watched her perform- 
ing her incantations. The imbulu was then exposed and de- 
stroyed; and the chief married Untombi-yapansi in addition to 
her sister, after which “they all lived together happily.” 
We are not told that the parents returned to life again after 
the brief apparitions above recorded — no doubt it was felt 
that, once their daughter’s identity was established and she was 
settled in a home of her own, their intervention was no longer 
needed. It seems clear that they are imagined as living under- 
ground in very much the same way as they did on the surface 
of the earth, also that living people and animals can enter 
their abode and leave it without much difficulty. 

In our first chapter, we have already mentioned some Afri- 
can analogues to the tale of which perhaps the best-known 
European type is Grimm’s “ Frau Holle.” *® This has a dis- 
tinct mythological background, quite lost sight of in the Eng- 
lish variant, where the ancient goddess Holda or Hulda ™ has 
become an unnamed “ old witch,” and the girl, instead of fall- 


ing into the well, leaves her parents’ house in order, to look 
for a situation. The older version does not expressly say that 
she is drowned, but one can hardly doubt that she is supposed 
to have entered the realm of the dead and to have returned 
to life when dismissed through the golden gateway. The 
African variants can scarcely be separated from those already 
mentioned, where the oppressed or afflicted seek a remedy for 
their troubles in heaven above. 

Of these there are several types. The heroine may be an 
ill-used step-daughter, whose step-mother is looking for a 
pretext to get rid of her,” a child fearing her parent’s anger 
on account of some accident, or one of two or more wives, ® 
suffering from the jealousy of her rivals. It is perhaps worth 
noting that, while the jealous co-wife figures pretty frequently 
in folk-tales, the cruel step-mother is not so common: in gen- 
eral, it is assumed that the children of a polygamous household 
will be as well treated by one mother as another, just as we 
assume that, as a normal thing, brothers and sisters will live 
together in harmony. The two step-mother stories I have 
noted as belonging to this group, come from West Africa. 
They also differ from the rest in more or less losing sight of 
the spirit-world idea. In the one (Hausa), the step-mother 
sends the girl to the “ River Bagajun,” reputed to be the abode 
of cannibal witches, in the hope that she will never return; 
in the other (Temne), she is despatched on an errand to “ the 
Devil ”— probably, in an earlier form of the story, to the 
other world, though of this there is no indication as it now 
stands, and the “ Devil ” (the tale is told in Sierra Leone Eng- 
lish, and the expression is obviously imported) might be a 
forest demon. Perhaps he was originally an ancestral ghost 
haunting a grove: in that case the link with the spirit-world 
is obvious, though it is not located under the earth. 

There is a very curious variation in another Hausa tale,* the 
first part of which (like thé opening of a Chwana “ Holle ” 


story) ** belongs to the class of “ Ogre tales.” A mother, 
whose daughter has been killed and eaten by a were-hyena, 
gathers up her bones and sets out with them for the town 
“ where they mend men.” On the way, she meets with various 
adventures through all of which she passes satisfactorily; when 
she arrives she behaves with courtesy and obeys the instructions 
given her, and her daughter is restored alive and well. Her 
co-wife, thinking that her own ugly daughter will be improved 
by the same process, purposely kills her and starts, carrying the 
bones; but she behaves exactly like the favoured but ill- 
conditioned child in “ Frau Holle,” and is fitly rewarded by 
receiving her daughter back “ badly mended ”— in fact, only 
half a girl, with one eye, one arm, and one leg. This same 
idea, strangely enough, recurs on the opposite side of Africa, 
where, in a Chaga tale already referred to,*° the woman who 
has tricked her rival into drowning her baby and finds that she 
has got it back more beautiful than before, drowns her own 
child on purpose and gets it back with one arm and one leg. 
The notion of these one-sided beings seems to prevail through- 
out Africa — we shall have to come back to it later on, but 
these are the only instances known to me where it occurs in this 
particular connection. © 

In the most typical forms of this story, the girl meets with 
various adventures en route, usually to the number of three 
(as, with us, the corn, the cow, and the apple-tree). These 
are taken as tests of character, showing the first girl in a credit- 
able, and the second in an odious light. Sometimes a service is 
required — in some cases of a repulsive nature, as when an old 
woman suffering from skin-disease asks to have her sores 
washed, or still worse, her eyes cleansed by licking out the puru- 
lent matter, in others, merely involving a little trouble. Some- 
times, as in the “ Route du Ciel,” it is the girls’ treatment of 
those who direct them on their way, that is decisive; so, in 
“ The Devil’s Magic Eggs ” (Temne), the first one gives civil 


and respectful answers to the talking hoe-handles and the one- 
eyed man. The Hausa “ How the ill-treated Maiden became 
rich ” has a test of self-control in place of the tasks: the road 
leads past a river of sour milk, a river of honey and some fowls 
roasting themselves — all of which call out an invitation. The 
first girl, intent on her errand, says: “ No, no, what is the 
use? ” and passes on; the second rudely replies, “ You are 
full of impudence, must I wait for you to ask me to take 
some? ” Sometimes these tests or tasks are dispensed with till 
the girl has arrived, when she is either given some definite 
thing to do (the witch asks the Hausa girl to wash her, the 
“ Devil ” tells the Temne “ Pickin ” to relieve his head of its 
inhabitants) or set to work for a lengthened period, as is done 
by Frau Holle. Further, on leaving, there is usually either 
a choice of gifts, or a choice of means of exit. The Temne 
Devil tells the girls to help themselves to four eggs; the first 
takes the small ones, which, on being broken produce riches 
of all sorts; her sister chooses the largest, and finds them to 
contain bees, a snake, a whip, and fire, which consumes her 
wicked mother and herself. The Hausa witch gives each of 
the girls a basket, with directions when to open it — directions 
followed by the one and disregarded by the other, with re- 
sults much as in the Temne tale. 

In a Chaga variant,’ the old woman asks, “ Shall I strike 
you with the hot or with the cold? ” The principle of this 
choice is not explained; but “ the cold” is evidently the right 
answer. The girl who gives it is told to thrust her arms into a 
pot and draws them out covered with bangles. It should also 
be noticed that in two cases the successful candidate, if we may 
call her so, refuses the food offered by the spirits. This is a 
familiar incident in other mythologies, but it is sometimes 
curiously lost sight of —e.g., in the Iramba story mentioned 
in our last chapter."* Asa specimen of these stories — none, so 
far as I can discover, unites all the features I have mentioned 


—we may take that of “ Maruwa,” current among the 

Maruwa and her little sister were set to watch the garden 
when the beans were ripening. One hot afternoon, Maruwa, 
being very thirsty, went down to the Kiningo pool to get a 
drink. The little girl, left alone, saw a great troop of baboons 
among the bean-plants, but she was afraid to drive them off by 
herself ; and when Maruwa returned she found that the whole 
crop was gone. She was terribly frightened, thinking that her 
father would beat her, so she ran down to the pool and jumped 
in. Her sister ran home and told their mother, who came 
down to the pool and found that Maruwa had not yet sunk, 
but was still floating on the water. She called: 

** Ho! Maruwa, are you not coming back? 
Are you not coming back again? 
Never mind the beans, we will plant some more! 
Never mind the beans, we will plant some more.” 

Maruwa answered: 

“Not I! not I! 
The baboons came and ate the beans — he! 
The monkeys came and ate the beans ”— 

i.e. “they have stripped the garden quite bare, and I dare not 
go back.” The mother sang again and the girl answered 
in the same words, and then sank. Her mother went home. 
When Maruwa reached the bottom of the pool she found 
many people living there, in houses much like those she had 
left in her own village. They offered her food, but she 
refused everything. Wanting to know what they could give 
her, they asked: “ What do you eat at home? ”—and she, 
trying to think of something unprocurable here, answered, 
“ Bitter fruit and emetic leaves! ” She remained with them 
many days, eating nothing all the time, and living in the house 
of an old woman, who had a little girl to help her with the 

Be Saal 

cbsoC orl 

to sbods 




1. View on Lake Kivu, in the volcanic region of 

2. The Virunga Volcanoes, believed to be the 
abode of the Dead. 

After photographs by Captain Philipps. 


work. When the child went out to cut grass for the goats, 
the old woman said to Maruwa, “ You may go with her, but 
don’t help her — let her do the work.” Maruwa, however, 
did not act upon this advice, but cut the grass and carried it 
back, only giving it to the little girl when they were in sight 
of the house. It was the same when they went to draw water, 
and to collect firewood, and the child became very fond of 
Maruwa. One day she said to her: “ You must not stay here 
too long; once you have got used to the place, they will begin 
to ill-use you. Go and tell the old woman you are homesick, 
and ask her to let you go. If she says: ‘Shall I let you go 
through the manure or through the burning? ” say: ‘ Please let 
me go through the manure, mother! ’” Maruwa did as she 
was directed and was thrown into the manure pit in the cow- 
stall. When she got out she found herself in the upper world 
again, not only quite clean, but covered with metal chains and 
bead ornaments. She reached her parents’ house and, finding 
no one at home, hid herself in the compartment of the cattle. 
Her mother came, after a while, to fetch the milk-calabash, 
saw and recognised her, and stretched out her arm to touch 
her; but Maruwa cried: “‘ Don’t touch my ornaments! ” The 
woman ran and called her husband, “He! Mbonyo! 
Mbonyo! ” and asked him to fetch the milk-calabash from the 
cow-stall —an unusual thing for a man, which he was at 
first unwilling to do. Suspecting, hovever, that her request 
had some particular meaning, he went and found Maruwa who 
warned him also not to touch her or her ornaments.” He 
understood, or at least supposed, that she had some serious 
reason for keeping him at a distance; he went at once, in great 
joy, to fetch a sheep, which he presented to her, “as a gift 
of welcome, so that she might come out and he could ad- 
mire her properly in the courtyard. So, when Maruwa 
had been greeted with the sheep she came out into the 
yard in all her ornaments which she had acquired in the 


Kiningo pool. The people came to look at her, and all of 
them wondered.” 

A neighbour’s daughter was envious and, hearing where 
Maruwa had got all these things, ran to the Kiningo pool and 
threw herself in. She ate the food offered her, and, when 
received into the old woman’s house, followed her instructions 
to the letter and left the little girl to do all the work. The 
latter, therefore, said to her one day: “ We are very hard up 
here; you had better ask the old woman to let you go home.” 
She then exactly reversed the advice she had given to Maruwa 
with the result that the old woman threw her into the fire, as 
requested. When she arrived in the upper world “ fire was 
hidden in her body.” She went home and hid in the cow-stall, 
as Maruwa had done. Maruwa was the first person to see 
her and held out her hand to her, but immediately fire burst 
from the girl’s whole body. She ran away, plunging into 
stream after stream, but could not extinguish the flames. She 
cried to every river she passed to help her, but not one would 
do so. At last she came to Namuru and died in the Sere 
stream; so no one who knows the story drinks of its water to 
this day. 

A Spider story from the Gold Coast” is related to this 
group of tales and may as well have a place here. 

Once in a time of scarcity, Anansi or Ananu (the Spider) 
and his son Ananute, were looking for food in the bush, when 
the son found one palm-nut. Just as he was going to crack 
and eat it, it slipped from his fingers and rolled into a rat-hole. 
He crawled in after it and soon found himself in the presence 
of three very dirty spirits, one black, one red, and one white, 
who had neither washed nor shaved since the creation of the 
world. They asked what he wanted and were much surprised 
to hear that he had been taking so much trouble for the sake 
of a single palm-nut. They dug up some yams from their 
garden and gave them to him, telling him to peel them and 


cook the peelings and throw away the good part. He did so 
and found that they became very fine yams. He remained 
there for three days, getting plenty to eat, and became quite 
fat. On the fourth he took his leave, asking if he might carry 
back a few yams to his relations. The spirits gave him a large 
basket full, came with him part of the way, and taught him 
the following song: 


* White spirit, ho! ho! 
Red spirit, ho! ho! 
Black spirit, ho! ho! 
Should my head disobey, 
What would befall me? 
The head he throws away — 

The foot he throws away — 
You, you offended the great fetishes! ” * 

This they said, he must not tell to anyone, or even sing it 
when by himself. Great was the rejoicing when he reached 
home, laden with supplies, which lasted the family for some 
time. When they were exhausted, he returned to fetch some 
more; and, as he was careful to obey the spirits’ instructions, 
they allowed him to come again as often as he wished. His 
father’s curiosity was aroused and he wished to come too, but 
his son—not unreasonably, when one remembers Anansi’s 
character — would not hear, of it. So next time yams were 
wanted, Anansi got up overnight, made a hole in his son’s 
bag and filled it with ashes. This enabled him to follow his 
track and come up with him before he had reached his desti- 
nation. The young Spider, seeing that he was determined, 
handed over the errand to him, with some well-meant hints as 
to his behaviour, and went home. Needless to say, he made a 
very bad impression. He burst out laughing when he caught 
sight of the spirits, remarked on their unwashed condition 


and offered to trim their beards for them. He then had the 
impudence to ask for yams, was given some and told to peel 
them and throw away the yams themselves, but said to himself 
that he was not going to be such a fool, and put the yams into 
the pot. He found, after waiting long past the usual time, 
that they were not done, nor likely to be, so he had to try the 
skins, which, as before, became very fine tubers. When he set 
out for home, the spirits taught him their secret song, and he 
began to'sing it at the top of his voice, as soon as he was out of 
sight. Then “ he burst from above, and broke down, then his 
head was cut off, and he also died, but still he went on singing! ” 
The spirits, unwilling to proceed to extremities, restored him 
to life, but he repeated the offence a second and a third time, 
till at last they came after him, took away his yams and gave 
him a good thrashing. And his neighbours, when they heard 
what had happened, expelled him from the village. 

There is one more group of legends which must be 
mentioned — that in which a murder is made known and 
avenged by means of a bird or other creature, which 
is usually, though not always, identified with the soul 
of the victim. There are a very large number of va- 
riants, one of the finest being the Zulu “ Unyengebule,”” 
where a man kills his wife in a fit of irritation, and the 
plume of feathers which she was wearing in her hair turns 
into a bird. He kills the bird again and again, but it keeps 
coming to life and at last reveals the story to the murdered 
woman’s parents. But a less well-known and less generally 
accessible form of the story is current among the Kinga people 
at the north end of Lake Nyasa.” It is called “ The Heron’s 
Feather,” and relates how two youths went on a visit to their 
relations at a distant village. One of them wore a crow’s 
feather in his hair, the other a heron’s. They saw some girls 
on a hillside and shouted across the valley to them: “ Maidens, 
which of us two do you prefer? ” The girls answered: “ We 


like the one with the crow’s feather best.” The same thing 
happened a second and a third time, and the young man who 
had failed to attract admiration suggested to his companion that 
they should change feathers, and he agreed. When they had 
crossed the next hill, they met another band of girls and re- 
peated their question, but the answer was, now, “ The one with 
the heron’s feather is the handsomest.” The other remarked, 
“’Kwo! they all despise me —I alone am the ugly one, for 
they all like you, and I shall never get a wife! ” and jealousy 
rankled in his heart. After a while, they came to a dry water- 
course in a deep ravine, and he suggested to his friend that | 
they should dig a pit to try and get some water. The other 
agreed, and they dug for some time. When the pit was about 
a man’s height in depth, the envious youth snatched the other’s 
plume and threw it in, telling him to climb down and fetch it. 
He did so, and his false friend, seeing that the pit was deep 
enough, threw the earth in and buried him. He then went on 
to his relatives’ village and told them, in answer to their en- 
quiries, that he had come alone. He remained with them for 
some time and then went home. When he arrived, he was 
asked where his friend was and answered: “‘ Oh! I don’t know, 
he stayed behind; I suppose he is on his way.” Next day, the 
lad’s parents enquired again and received the same answer, 
which satisfied them for the time, but when he did not come 
that evening or the following morning, they grew anxious. 
Presently they noticed a bird sitting on the kraal fence and 
singing: “ Your son is not there; they blamed him for wearing 
the heron’s feather and buried him in the swamp.” When 
they heard this, they asked again: “‘ Where did you leave your 
friend? ” but the young man insisted that he had only lin- 
gered behind and would most likely come next day. Appar- 
ently they were not quite certain they had understood the bird, 
or were reluctant to apply its message to themselves, for they 
accepted his assurance and waited another day. The lad did 


not come back, but the bird did and sang the same words again. 
When he assured them once more that the missing one was on 
the way, they asked: “ Well, then, what is that bird singing? ” 
“Oh! ” he answered, “ I don’t know, I expect he is drunk and 
singing some nonsense to himself, that is all! ” Another day 
passed, and once more the bird came back, and this time the 
father and mother insisted on going to find out what had hap- 
pened. They met people who had seen both lads go into the 
ravine but only one come-out. They went on to the swamp and 
the mother remarked that the earth had recently been dis- 
turbed, so they dug down and found the body. They seized 
the murderer, dug another pit, threw him in and buried him. 
Nothing is said here as to the identity of the bird, but we 
may be sure that, originally at least, it was the form assumed 
by the murdered lad’s soul. How completely this idea has 
sometimes been lost sight of, is seen in a Mbundu story,” 
where Mutilembe, envious of his younger brother’s success in 
hunting, kills him, the murder being reported by the two dogs, 
who witness it. He kills them both, as Unyengebule does the 
bird, but they return to life —a reminiscence of the idea that 
the accusing animal was the reincarnated (and indestructible) 



HE FIGURE of the Hero who is also the Demiurge, 

the institutor of the arts of life and, in another aspect, 

the “ trickster-transformer,” * is not very frequently met with 
in Africa, at least as far as our knowledge goes. However, 
we do, here and there, meet with traces of such a being, usually 
of a confused and fragmentary character. Hubeane (Ho- 
byana) * of the Bavenda and Bapedi, said to be the son of the 
first man and the creator of other human beings (others call 
him the first ancestor of the race and the creator of heaven 
and earth), possesses many characteristics of the trickster. 
These appear very clearly in the Zulu Hlakanyana,’ who also 
possesses magical powers of transformation, but does not seem 
to be credited with any share in the making of the world. In 
the present form of the tale, he is a human, or quasi-human be- 
ing; but there are indications that he may be of animal origin, 
and some of his adventures are attributed to the Hare in Bantu 
folklore. The Hare never appears as a Demiurge; but the 
Spider, the arch-trickster of Western Africa, figures in the 
creation-legend of the Yaos,* and is connected with heaven in 
Angola,® by the Kongo people and by the Duala.° There are 
some miraculous circumstances about the birth of Hlakanyana, 
which he shares with Ryang’ombe, a hero of Kiziba:" both 
speak before they are born, and the latter eats a whole ox im- 
mediately after. Hubeane exhibits a mixture of cunning and 
real or assumed stupidity which recalls the Teutonic Tyll Owl- 
glass and the Turkish Nasr-ed-din; his cunning is shown in 
the tricks played on others, but chiefly in his avoidance of the 


traps set for him after people have become convinced that he is 
too clever to be tolerated in the tribe. 

This latter set of episodes is repeated in the story of Gali- 
kalangye,® found among the Wahehe, north of Lake Nyasa, 
among the Anyanja and Yaos farther south, and probably else- 
where. Here, the hero’s mother promises, before his birth, 
to hand him over to a demon;” but it proves impossible to 
fulfil the bargain, as he can never be taken unawares. Some 
of the devices are the same as those employed against Hubeane; 
but all his stratagems are measures of self-defence — he plays 
no malicious tricks. 

We have already mentioned Tsii-goab, the “ Wounded- 
Knee ” chief, as a hero of the Hottentots, in process of deifi- 
cation, if not actually deified. This being may or may not be, 
as Hahn thinks, identical with Haitsi-aibeb; “ if not, the latter 
must be set down as a distinct hero, about whom various 
legends have been preserved; though, unfortunately, it is now, 
apparently, too late to recover the connecting links between 
the records of isolated observers. 

Haitsi-aibeb’s birth was miraculous; * and he was able to 
transform himself into various shapes. He fights with an 
enemy of mankind, Gaunab, or Ga-gorib,”* the “ Thruster- 
down,” whose custom was to throw people headlong into a 
deep pit. He used to sit beside this pit and challenge those 
who passed to throw a stone at his forehead; but the stone 
rebounded, killing the thrower, so that he fell into the hole. 
At last Haitsi-aibeb was told that many men had been killed in 
this way and he went to the spot. He declined Ga-gorib’s 
challenge, but presently drew off his attention and aimed a 
stone at him, which hit him under the ear, “‘so that he died 
and fell into his own hole. After that there was peace, and 
people lived happily.” 

Another version * represents the two chasing each other 
round and round the hole, crying alternately: 7 



Be ois to nemrwod A 
Pat sie betring seuj 
ovis as (sqsde tsilyooq 

wo gnivh 

nsse ei doigy 
A yd fie 




A bowman of the Southern Bambala. He has 
just parried with the back of his bow (note the 
peculiar shape) an arrow shot at him, which is seen 
flying over his head. After a photograph by E, 




“Push the Heigeip [Haitsi-aibeb] down! ” 
“Push the Ga-gorib down! ” 

till at last Haitsi-aibeb was pushed in. Then he said to the 
hole: “ Support me a little! ” and it bore him up till he was 
able to get out again. They chased each other as before, till 
Haitsi-aibeb fell in again and again got out, but, the third 
time, it was his adversary who was thrust in, “ and he came not 
up again.” Since that day men breathed freely and had rest 
from their enemy, because he was vanquished.” G4-gorib is 
by some identified with Gaunab, the enemy who wounded 
Tsti-goab in the knee. 

The above story is also told of Tsti-goab,** and, what is 
even more remarkable, of the Jackal.** This affords a pre- 
sumption that Haitsi-aibeb, like other heroes, may originally 
have been an animal. The Jackal is the favourite hero of 
Hottentot folklore, and many of his exploits are those attrib- 
uted by, the Bantu to the Hare. 

At one time Haitsi-aibeb is said to have made friends with 
a Lion,"’ and they used to go hunting together. The Lion was 
the more successful, but Haitsi-aibeb usually contrived to cheat 
him out of the greater part of the booty, and then derided 
him behind his back. The Lion’s daughter, to whom he car- 
ried home his prey, began to suffer from hunger. Haitsi- 
aibeb also had a daughter, and the two met one day at the 
water-hole where they, had come to fill their vessels. The 
Lion’s daughter sat down to fill hers,’* but the other told her 
to get out of the way and, when she declined, taunted her with 
her father’s defeat, saying that he had been outwitted by 
Haitsi-aibeb. The Lion’s daughter, on reaching home, told 
her father, and he, during the next day’s hunting, took care 
to keep his spoil to himself. Hiaitsi-aibeb then said to him: 
“ These two girls will cause us to quarrel: we had better kill 
them both! ” The Lion agreed and killed his daughter, but 


Haitsi-aibeb deceived him by beating with a club the skin on 
which he slept, his daughter being concealed elsewhere. 
When the Lion discovered the cheat, he pursued them both, 
but they escaped and took refuge underground. The Lion, 
in despair, entreated Haitsi-aibeb to restore his daughter to 
life, which at last he did. 

The cairns found in many parts of South Africa were called 
Haitsi-aibeb’s graves,” their number, when remarked on by 
a traveller, being accounted for by the assertion that he died 
and returned to life a great many times. That this is not merely 
an explanation called forth by a leading question seems clear 
from the legend given by Bleek *° under the title “ The Raisin- 

Haitsi-aibeb and his family, on their travels, reached a 
certain valley, where they found ripe berries, of the kind called 
“wild raisins,” in great abundance. Haitsi-aibeb ate of them 
and, becoming very ill, said to his son Uriseb:” “I shall not 
live, I feel it; thou must, therefore, cover me when I am dead 
with soft stones. . . . This is the thing I order you to do: — 
Of the raisin-trees of this valley ye shall not eat. For if ye eat 
of them, I shall infect you, and ye will surely die in a similar 
way.” His wife said: “ He is taken ill on account of the raisins 
of this valley. Let us bury him quickly, and let us go.” 

So they buried him, covering his grave with stones, as 
directed, and moved on to another place. While preparing to 
camp here, they heard, in the direction from which they had 
come, “a noise as of people eating raisins and singing.” Then 
the words of the song became audible: 

**T, father of Uriseb, 
Father of this unclean one, 
I, who had to eat these raisins and died, 
And dying live.” 

The wife, noticing that the sound seemed to come from the 
old man’s grave, sent Uriseb to look; and he returned, report- 


ing that he had seen tracks which looked like his father’s foot- 
marks. So she said: “ It is he alone,” and told Uriseb to creep 
up to him against the wind and cut off his retreat to the grave, 
“and when thou hast caught him, do not let him go.” 

“ He did accordingly, and they came between the grave and 
Haitsi-aibeb who, when he saw this, jumped down from the 
raisin trees and ran quickly, but was caught at the grave. Then 
he said: ‘Let me go! For I am a man who has been dead — 
that I may not infect you! ? But the young wife said: ‘ Keep 
hold of the rogue!’ So they brought him home, and from 
that day he was fresh and hale! ” | 

In Hubeane, the power of recovery from death has given 
place to a marvellous fertility of resource in escaping from it. 
He is described as the son of Ribimbi (Ribibi, Levivi), the 
first man,” but so far as my information goes, nothing un- 
usual is related in connection with his birth. He first distin- 
guished himself by phenomenal stupidity, carrying out liter- 
ally the directions he received, but always applying them 
wrongly. Thus one day, he went with his mother to gather 
beans.** She found a small buck asleep among the bean-plants, 
killed it and put it into her basket, covering it over with the 
beans as she picked them. She then sent Hubeane home with 
the basket, telling him, “If you meet any one who asks 
what you are carrying, say: ‘My mother’s beans,’ but (you 
know) in your heart (that it) is a bush-buck.” Sure enough, 
he met a neighbour, who asked what was in the basket. Hu- 
beane answered: “I am carrying my mother’s beans, but in 
my heart it is a bush-buck.” 

When he grew older, he was set to herd the sheep and 
goats. One day he came upon a dead zebra, and, when he came 
home in the evening, being asked where the flock had fed that 
day, he answered: “ By the black and white rock.” Next day, 
going to the same place, he found that the hyenas had been 
at the carcase, and, when asked the same question in the 


evening, said he had driven the sheep to “ the hyenas’ rock.” 
The men, already puzzled by the “black and white rock,” 
could make nothing of this, so some of them went with him 
next day and found, to their disgust, that they had lost a val- 
uable supply of meat. So they told him, that when next he 
found an animal, he must pile a heap of branches over it and 
come at once to call some people. Next day, he killed a small 
bird with a stone, covered it with branches and summoned the 
whole village — of course to their bitter disappointment. One 
or two took the trouble to explain to him that what he should 
have done was to tie the bird to his belt and so carry it 
home, and this, accordingly, he tried to do with a bush-buck 
which he killed, dragging it along the ground and quite ruin- 
ing the skin. In short, he was the despair of his relations. 
His father took to accompanying him, so as to prevent disaster 
to the sheep, and Hubeane marooned him on the top of a high 
rock, telling him there was water to be found there, and, once 
he was up, taking away the pegs which he had driven in for 
him to ascend. He then ran home and ate the dinner prepared 
for his father, afterwards secretly filling the pot which had 
contained it with cowdung, and returning to the rock, helped 
his father down, pretending that he had only been to look after 
the sheep. When they reached home, he scolded the servants 
for being slow in dishing up, the food, saying that, if they did 
not make haste, the meat would be turned into cowdung — 
which accordingly was found to be the case. 

This and similar tricks at length so exasperated his father 
and the men of the village that they determined to get rid 
of Hubeane. They put poison into his porridge; but he insisted 
on eating from the bowl prepared for his brother; then they 
dug a pit in the place where he usually sat, planted sharp 
stakes in it and covered it over, but he went and sat elsewhere. 
Then they tied up a man in a bundle of thatching-grass, so 
that he could stab Hubeane with his spear when he came within 


reach. But again Hubeane was suspicious, and chose the 
grass for a target when practising javelin-throwing. So, find- 
ing that they could not catch him napping they decided to leave 
him alone. 

Hlakanyana may originally have been the Hare, or possibly 
some creature of the weasel kind. The latter is suggested by 
the introduction to his story given in Callaway,” where it is 
stated that one of his names is Ucaijana, “ Little Weasel,” 
and “ he is like the weasel; it is as though he was really of that 
genus, . . . he resembles it in all respects.” But the narrator 
is clearly somewhat perplexed, and, since we do not find the 
Weasel otherwise prominent in Zulu folk-lore, it may be a 
recent substitution for the Hare. He is described by Callaway 
as a sort of Tom Thumb; but, though his smallness is insisted 
on in the introduction, it does not appear in the story itself. 
He is remarkable, however, in other ways. He speaks before 
he is born, and goes out immediately after to the cattle-kraal, 
sitting down among the men and eating beef. He plays tricks 
on his parents and others, but meets with more toleration than 
Hubeane, as the only hostile manifestation comes from the 
other boys who (not unnaturally) object to have him sleeping 
in their hut, though they do not otherwise molest him. After 
leaving home he has several adventures with cannibals, getting 
the better of them all in the long run. Except by getting rid 
of these nuisances — which is quite incidental in his career — 
he does not appear as a benefactor, unless we are to count a very 
curious incident which may be an indication of his once having 
figured as a culture-hero.”” Having dug up some edible tubers 
(wmdiandiane) he gives them to his mother to cook; she eats 
them herself, and when he demands them back, gives him a 
milk-pail instead. This he lends to some boys who were milk- 
ing into broken potsherds; one of them breaks it and, on 
being remonstrated with, gives him an assagai in exchange. 
He continues the series of exchanges, each time getting an 


article of greater value than the one lost, till he winds up with 
a war-assagai, and “‘ what he did with that, perhaps I may tell 
you on another occasion.” The two points to notice are, first, 
that he is actually shown as introducing improvements: the 
milk-pail instead of potsherds, an assagai for cutting meat 
instead of sharp-edged slips of cane, an axe for cutting fire- 
wood, which women were presumably breaking off with their 
hands, and so on. Secondly, the same story is told, with varia- 
tions, of the Hare, who, in one place, finds people working with 
wooden hoes, for which he substitutes an iron one, and again, 
gives iron arrows for wooden ones. 

In Kiziba, we have a more ordinary, human culture-hero 
in Kibi, a mighty hunter who came out of Unyoro with his 
dogs,”* and the somewhat similar figure of Mbega in Usam- 
bara,”’ the founder of the Wakilindi house of chiefs. These 
may typify the immigration or invasion of a more advanced 
people. But we must pass over much interesting matter in 
order to touch on a myth of great interest which is found all 
over Bantu Africa and beyond its confines to an extent which 
I have been unable to trace. The hero is often unnamed, 
but the Basuto call him Moshanyana, or Litaolane. The story 
is classed by Tylor ** among Nature Myths and explained as 
a dramatisation of the recurring phenomena of night and day: 
the sun swallowed up by the darkness and re-emerging trium- 
phant and unhurt; or perhaps of the more irregular and catas- 
trophic disappearance of the sun or moon during an eclipse. 
More recent observers have doubted whether we do find these 
phenomena personified in just this way among very primitive 
races.” Without attempting to decide this question, we will 
tell the story of Moshanyana *° as a fairly typical specimen. 

The people — no doubt all the people of the world, as 
far as the narrator is concerned — were swallowed up by a 
monster called Kholumolumo,” and not only the people but 
the cattle, the dogs, and the fowls. The only one who escaped 


was a pregnant woman, who smeared herself over with ashes 
from the dust-heap, and then went and sat in the calves’ kraal. 
Kholumolumo came and looked into the kraal, but took her 
for a stone, “ as she smelt like ashes,” and left her. He went 
on as far as the mountain pass by which he had reached the 
village, but was unable to get through it again, after his meal, 
and remained where he was. 

In course of time, the woman’s baby was born, and she left 
it in order to go a few yards from the hut and fetch some food. 
When she came back she found a grown man sitting there, 
clothed, and armed with a spear. She said: “ Hello! man! 
where is my child? ” and he answered: “It is I, mother! ” 
He inquired where the people were gone, and she told him 
they had been eaten by Kholumolumo, as well as the cattle, 
dogs, and fowls. He asked where the monster was. ‘‘ Come 
out and see, my child.” She climbed with him to the 
top of the calves’ kraal and pointed to the pass (“nek”) 
which gave entrance to the valley, saying: “‘ That object which 
is filling the nek, as big as a mountain, that is Kholumolumo.” 

He took his spears and, in spite of his mother’s entreaties, 
went to look at the monster, stopping by, the way to sharpen 
the spears on a flat stone. When it saw him coming, it opened 
its mouth to swallow him; but, as it could not rise, he easily 
kept out of reach of the jaws, went round behind it and stabbed 
it twice, after which it died. 

“ Then he took his knife. A man cried: ‘Do not cut me! ’ 
He left and began at another place; a cow said: ‘ Muu!’ He 
left and began at another place; a dog barked: ‘Kwee!’ He 
left and began at another place. ‘ Kokolokoloo! ’ cried a hen. 
This time he persisted and opened the belly of that animal. 
All the people came out of it, also the cattle.” 

They made him their chief; but there were those who were 
envious and stirred up discontent among the rest. After a 
while, they planned to kill him, saying: “ Let us take hold 


of him, kindle a big fire in the public court and throw him into 
it.” But “ when they tried to seize him, he escaped them, and 
they took another man and threw him into the fire.” Perhaps 
we are to understand that they were subjected, by supernatural 
means, to some delusion of the senses. “ As for him, he was 
standing there and said: ‘ What are you doing to that man? ? ” 

They then tried digging a pit at the place where he habit- 
ually sat, but he escaped, not, like Hubeane, through refusing 
to sit there, but because he was miraculously prevented from 
falling in. Again, they tried to throw him over a precipice, 
but “he escaped them and they threw down another man,” 
whom he recalled to life. 

When they made their last attempt, he no longer thwarted 
them, but purposely allowed them to kill him. “ It is said that 
his heart went out and escaped and became a bird.” 

This is a distinct and coherent narrative, some of whose 
features may have been grafted on to other themes, and it is 
found elsewhere, with variations ad infinitum. Sometimes the 
hero escapes death, sometimes though slain he returns to life, 
sometimes he is left undisturbed and “ happy ever after ” in 
the enjoyment of his well-deserved honours. 

Moshanyana’s rapid development (though his birth is not 
in itself miraculous) reminds us of Hlakanyana and is also 
found in other cases. But an interesting Ronga variant 
attributes an actually abnormal birth to the hero, Bokenyane, 
whose mother, like the first ancestor of the Nandi, was afflicted 
with a boil on her shin-bone, from which, when it came to a 
head, the child issued. It was felt to be fitting that the 
Hero-deliverer, who accomplished what no human being 
could even attempt, should not come into the world in the 
ordinary human way. 

Breysig ** suggests another motive, which probably applies 
where the hero is also the ancestor of the tribe, viz. the desire 
to make him the actual starting point of the line, seeing that 


of hun, kindle a hig fire: ins pe ihe court 
4.7 But § when they Ga eee . 
they took another maa ane thre 
we are to understand thet they were sgrbosel hea 1p 
means, to same delusion of the senses, “As for him, a 
standing there and said: ‘ What are you doing te that sank -” So 
They then ae digging a pit at the place where he habit- 
ually sat, but he eSeaped, not, like Hubeane, through refit i 
ro sit there, bor because he wae Heetaeboety prevented. from 
{ : gain, they ertea! tc Throw hen seid * ale . 
“he escaped them 2G they threw ae an 
m ne recaiied to art. 

made their ‘yet attempt, hea ne fen 

A Swahili player on aed xd and ber 

zibar. After a _s pryaayas 

| matted of t0 her themes, whi it 3s | 
-ad infinitum. Sometimes the 

son + tinea slain he returns to life, 

f “a turbed and “ happy ever after in ) : 

f his well-deserved honouré | } 

.na’s rapid | development (though his tec ae 
-aculous )-reminds ws of HN iskeanyana, aad 

her cases.. But an ottereaaes 

sips abnormal birth to ee Hort 

with a boil on her-shin- Pin ne, Frou: 1, 
head, the child issued. Tt was felt po 
Elero-deliverer,’ Who accompa what 
could even attempt, should not 
ordinary human Way. 
Breysig “ suggests another 
where ihe hero is also the ancestor ¢ 
to make him the —— starting | can 


to give him a human father would merely be carrying the 
ancestry higher up. This may be the case with some of the 
heroes we have been considering, though I have not found it 
stated anywhere except in the case of Hubeane, whose birth, 
so far as we are told, is not miraculous. 

In connection with what was said above as to the hero being 
originally an animal, we may mention what is probably a very 
early form of the legend current among the Ne ™ of the Ivory 
Coast. Here a magic calabash swallows * up all men and 
animals except one ewe, who later on brings forth a ram lamb. 
When the ram has come to his full strength, he butts the 
calabash and breaks it. 

The miraculous birth occurs in the case of Galikalangye, 
who has otherwise nothing in common with Moshanyana, ex- 
cept his repeated escape from death, in which he resembles 
Hubeane. Here the circumstances preceding the birth are en- 
tirely different, and also vary in the several versions of the tale, 
which, however, agree in making the mother promise her child 
to some being who has helped her out of a difficulty — in this 
case a Hyena. She has been gathering firewood in the forest 
and finds herself unable to lift the bundle to her head: the 
Hyena offers his assistance and asks what she will give him in 
return, and she replies, with somewhat startling readiness, that 
she will give him the unborn child. No sooner had she 
reached her home than he made his appearance and requested 
her to toast (Aalanga) him over the fire on a potsherd — hence 
his name, and he developed with proportional rapidity. When 
the Hyena came to claim him, the mother told him to take him 
for himself, and promised to tie a bell round his ankle, so 
that he could be picked out among the other boys. Galika- 
langye got hold of a quantity of bells and tied them on to his 
playmates, instructing them to answer to the same name as 
himself; so the Hyena retired in perplexity. Next, his mother 
sent him to pick beans, at a place where the Hyena had hidden 


himself; he sent a beetle in his place, and went off to play. 
Then, having tied the Hyena into a bundle of brushwood, the 
mother sent Galikalangye to bring it in; but he looked at the 
bundle and remarked: “I can carry one three times as big as 
that,” which so scared the enemy that he fled. This having 
failed, his mother told him to set a trap, and, after dark, 
when the Hyena has ensconced himself beside it, she said that 
it had fallen. “ Has it? ” said her son. “ My trap always 
falls three times.” Said the Hyena: “ What sort of trap is this 
which falls three times? ” and, once more, ran away. Finally, 
the mother shaved Galikalangye’s head all down one side and 
told the Hyena to fetch him when asleep beside the fire; but 
the boy got up in the night, shaved his mother’s head in the 
same way and retired to the back of the hut. The Hyena came, 
and, finding a person who answered the description asleep 
beside the fire, killed and carried off the mother. ** 

The Nyanja Kachirambe, however, after a series of escapes 
very similar to the above, forgives his mother, after killing 
the Hyena. The points of contact with the Hubeane legend 
are obvious; so are the important differences. 

Ryangombe resembles Hlakanyana and Galikalangye in the 
mode of his birth, but without the circumstances preceding 
it in the latter case; otherwise he differs from all previously 
mentioned; he overcomes one famous champion and reverses 
the procedure of Moshanyana by swallowing the second, who 
cuts his way out and kills him. If correctly reported, 
this may be a late and corrupt form of the myth. 

ATURE MYTHS properly so called do not seem 

to hold a very conspicuous place in African thought, 
compared with what has been observed elsewhere. True, 
we have a certain number of stories in which the sun, moon, 
and other heavenly bodies play a part, speaking and acting as 
human beings — the Nama, indeed, expressly state that they 
were once men *— with others explaining the origin and char- 
acter of natural phenomena. But, as we have seen, most of the 
creation-legends content themselves with accounting for man- 
kind, taking the inorganic world more or less for granted. 

The interpretation of myths as figurative descriptions of 
dawn, sunset, storms, and so forth, which was popularised, 
about the middle of the last century, by Max Miiller and 
Sir George Cox, has perhaps been unduly discredited, owing to 
its injudicious and indiscriminate application. It is, however, 
now recognised that no one key will fit all locks, and that this 
theory may be valid in some cases though in others completely 
at variance with the facts. Breysig’ points out that — at 
any rate in the most primitive stages of thought — divine or 
heroic figures are not personifications of natural forces, though, 
at a much later date, they may, by an afterthought, be 
identified with them. This seems to have been the case in 
ancient Babylon, with Marduk, sometimes explained as the 
sun-god, but also associated with the constellation Taurus, 
which seems to give us a clue to his real origin. It seems 
doubtful whether such identification has taken place in that 
part of Africa with which we are dealing. Those gods of the 


Uganda pantheon who look most like nature powers may 
equally well be deified ancestral ghosts. 

There are some widely current tales which have been ex- 
plained as disguised Nature myths; but one is by no means 
convinced that this is necessarily the case. Thus, one of the 
most popular episodes in the story of the Hare is that in which 
he and the Hyena, in time of famine, agree to kill their mothers 
for food: the Hyena carries out the compact, but the Hare 
conceals his mother, conveying food to her by stealth, till at 
last the Hyena gets wind of the trick and kills her. The Ewe 
have a distinct Nature myth, which Meinhof * considers to be a 
variant —and presumably the oldest form — of the above. 
The Sun and the Moon each had a number of children and 
agreed to kill them. No reason is given, beyond the impli- 
cation that they wanted a feast, nor do we find in the original 
native account * any hint as to the sex of either Sun or Moon. 
It seems most likely that, for the purposes of the story, they are 
both regarded as women. The Sun slaughtered her children 
and ate them, in company with the Moon; the latter, however, 
hid hers in a large water-jar and only let them out at night. 
So the Sun to this day is childless, while the Moon’s offspring 
are visible every night in the shape of the stars. 

The same tale is told, by the Somali,’ of two human mothers, 
one red and the other black, the former being cheated by the 
latter. This may, as Meinhof thinks, be a development of the 
Sun and Moon myth given above, which afterwards reached 
the Bantu peoples and circulated among them in a variety of 
forms. (The Kinga attribute it to two men, but the Hare 
is usually the hero of the tale.) But it is possible that the de- 
velopment was the other way, and that the typical Bantu ver- 
sion with its animal protagonists, is the most primitive. Or, 
again, two or even three, distinct myths may have arisen inde- 
pendently and reacted on each other. 

It has already been pointed out in the third chapter that 


we sometimes find the Moon associated with the introduction 
of death into the world. In the Hottentot legend, the Moon, 
though not distinctly said to be the Creator, sends the Hare 
with the message of immortality to mankind. No genuine 
Bantu form of the legend assigns this function to the Moon, 
and it may be distinctly Hamitic, or, as suggested in the pass- 
age above referred to, derived from the Bushmen. These 
appear to have regarded the Moon as generally unlucky,’ 
for: “ We may not look at the Moon, when we have shot 
game. . . . Our mothers used to tell us that the Moon is not 
a good person, if we look at him.” Some kind of “ honey- 
dew ” found on bushes was supposed to emanate from the 
Moon, and it is this which “ makes cool the poison with which 
we shoot the game; and the game arises, it goes on... . 
The Moon’s water is that which cures it.” But it does not ap- 
pear to be efficacious, unless the hunter has looked at the Moon. 
The Bushmen were in the habit of greeting the new moon 
with the following invocation, covering their eyes with their 
hands as they uttered it: “ Kabbi-a yonder! Take my face 
yonder! Thou shalt give me thy face yonder! ... Thou 
shalt give me thy face, with which, when thou hast died, thou 
dost again living return; when we did not perceive thee, thou 
dost again lying down come, that I may also resemble thee.” 
The Bushmen possess a much greater body of myths dealing 
with the heavenly bodies than the Bantu. They give two dif- 
ferent accounts of the Moon. In one,’ it was originally a hide 
sandal belonging to that mysterious being the Mantis, who 
flung it up into the sky on a dark night. In the other,* “ the 
Moon is looked upon as a man who incurs the wrath of the Sun 
and is consequently pierced by the knife (i.e. rays) of the 
latter. This process is repeated until almost the whole of 
the Moon is cut away, and only one little piece left; which the 
Moon piteously implores the Sun to spare for his children. 
(The Moon is in Bushman mythology a male being.) From 


this little piece, the Moon gradually grows again and becomes 
a full moon, when the Sun’s stabbing and cutting processes 

When the Moon, as we say, “ lies on her back,”? the Bushmen 
look on it as the sign of a death: “it lies hollow, because it is 
killing itself by carrying people who are dead.” ° 

The Moon, when personified at all by the Bantu, is usually 
spoken of as masculine, and the Evening Star is sometimes said 
to be the Moon’s wife. The Anyanja*® say the Moon has 
two wives, not recognising the Evening and Morning Star as 
one and the same. Chekechani, the Morning Star, lives in 
the east and feeds her husband so badly that he pines away, 
from the day he arrives at her house, till he comes to 
Puikani, in the west, who feeds him up till he is fat again. 
Probably this myth exists in more places than have yet been 
recorded, for we find that the Girvama™ call “a planet seen 
near the Moon,” mkazamwezi, “the Moon’s wife,” and 
Bentley * says that the corresponding expression, mkaza a 
ngonde, is used in Kongo for a “ planet — Jupiter or Venus.” 

The agricultural Bantu would be less likely to pay much 
attention to the stars — beyond those essential landmarks of 
the cultivator, the Pleiades and Orion, than the pastoral and 
hunting peoples. Accordingly they have few names — and 
those do not seem very certain — for any except the above and 
the planet Jupiter, which is known everywhere. The Lower 
Congo people have a little ditty ** about the three stars in 
Orion’s belt, which they call “ the hunter ” (Nkongo a mbwa), 
“the dog,” and the mshijz (the rodent known to science as 
Aulacodus or Thrynomys). It runs somewhat as follows: 

“The gun — oh! the gun! — 
The hunter is following his dog, 
And the dog is after the palm-rat, 
And the palm-rat is up a tree, 
And the tree is too much for the gun: — 
So the gun is hung up again.” 


The star-lore of the Khoikhoi* greatly resembles that of 
the Bushmen. This is not the place to discuss whether they 
derived it from the latter, or whether it is Hamitic in origin. 
Hahn says that the Pleiades (Khunusiti), Orion’s Belt 
(called “the Zebras”), a-Orionis (“the Lion”), and 
Aldebaran, were known to them before their separation. The 
Pleiades are the wives of Aldebaran. Once they asked him 
to go to shoot the three Zebras for them, telling him that 
he must not come home again till he had done so. He took 
only one arrow with him, and, having missed the first shot, 
could not go to pick it up, as the Lion was watching the Zebras 
on the other side. “ And because his wives had cursed him, 
he could not return, and there he sat in the cold night, shiver- 
ing and suffering from thirst and hunger.” 

The Pokomo, who call the Pleiades vimia,'* speak of the 
male and female vimia, the former being, as pointed out to 
me at Kulesa in 1912, the stars of Orion’s Belt. It is possible 
that this is a confusion and that the name originally belonged 
to the Hyades, of which Aldebaran is the most conspicuous 
star. The Pokomo are agricultural Bantu, but largely mingled 
with aboriginal hunting tribes who appear — allowing for 
differences of environment and circumstances — to have had 
much in common with the Bushmen. 

Certain stars in the Hyades were regarded by the Khoikhoi 
as the sandals and the cloak of Aldebaran (called Aod, “ the 
Husband ”), and two of the smaller stars in Orion were his 

The Bushmen called the planet Jupiter, “ Dawn’s Heart.” ** 
He had a wife named Kogniuntara, who is now the Lynx. 
One day, Dawn’s Heart, who had been carrying the baby, 
hid it under the leaves of a plant thinking that his wife would 
find it when she was out collecting roots. But before she came, 
it was discovered by various animals and birds, each in turn 
offering to act as its mother, but the child refused them all. 


At last came the Hyena, who took offence because the baby 
would not come to her, and poisoned the “ Bushman rice ” 
(ants? larvae —a favourite food) which Kogniuntara was 
about to collect. The latter, having found her child, took it 
up and went with her younger sister to look for “ ants’ eggs.” 
Having found the poisoned supply, she ate some and was be- 
witched, turning into a lioness. She ran away into the reeds, 
while the Hyena, assuming her shape, took her place in the 
home. Her younger sister followed her to the reed-bed en- 
treating her to feed the child before she left; Kogniuntara’s 
answer seems to show either that the whole transformation 
was gradual, or that the mental process did not keep pace with 
the bodily: “ Thou shalt bring it that it may suck; I would 
altogether talk to thee while my thinking-strings still stand ” 
—ji.e. while I am still conscious. Twice more the younger 
sister carried the baby out to the reed-bed to be nursed, the 
Hyena meanwhile living in the hut unrecognised by the hus- 
band, but the second time, the mother said: “ Thou must not 
continue to come to me, for I do not any longer feel that I 
know.” The girl returned home, and that evening, when her 
brother-in-law asked her to be his partner in the Ku game (in 
which the women clap their hands rhythmically, while the men 
nod their heads in time with them), she said, angrily, “‘ Leave 
me alone! your wives, the old she-hyenas, may clap their hands 
for you! ” He at once seized his spear and sprang to stab the 
Hyena, but missed her and only pierced the place wheré she 
had been sitting. In escaping, she stepped in the fire outside 
the hut, and burnt her foot, wherefore she limps to this day. 
Next morning, Dawn’s Heart and his sister-in-law went down 
to the reed-bed, taking a flock of goats with them. The girl 
told the husband and the other people to stand back, while she 
stood beside the goats and called her sister. The Lioness leaped 
out of the reeds, ran towards her sister and then turned aside 
to the goats, of whom she seized one, whereupon the husband . 

yd eenq Ys f ‘3s Ht oy 
cs) figuodyonist yd ‘ 


Zulu “ Lightning-Doctors.” They stand on the 
wall of the cattle-fold, holding shields and specially 
medicated spears and staves and address “‘ words of 
power,” to the storm, that it may pass by their village. 
After a photograph by Ferneyhough (?) Pietermar- 


pa Raga 
ell aos. 


and the rest took hold of her. They then killed the goats 
and anointed Kogniuntara with the contents of their stomachs 
—a favourite African medicine —and then rubbed her till 
they had removed the hair from her skin. But she asked them 
to leave the hair on the tips of her ears, “ for I do not feel 
as if I could hear.” With this exception, she was restored to 
human form; but, having been bewitched by means of “ Bush- 
man rice,” she could no longer eat that standing dish and to 
avoid starvation, turned into a Lynx, which eats meat. (Per- 
haps we are to understand that the Lynx was a new animal, 
previously unknown, for which the furry ears formed the 
starting-point. ) 

This story explains why the Dawn’s Heart frightens the 
jackals when he returns home in the early morning, sticking 
his spear into the ground, and with an arrow ready on his bow- 
string — “‘ His eyes were large, as he came walking along, 
they resembled fires.” 

This tale has some interesting points of contact with the 
Xosa one of Tanga-lo-mlibo,"’ which, however, has nothing 
to do with the stars: the common element being the return of 
the mother (in this case drowned, not changed into an animal) 
to nurse her child, and her ultimate recapture by the husband, 
who drives cattle into the river. 

The Milky Way is said by the Bushmen” to have been 
made by a girl belonging to “ the early race,” who threw up 
some wood-ashes into the sky. She subsequently produced the 
stars by throwing up some of the edible roots called humm, 
the old ones, which are red, becoming red stars, the young 
roots, white stars. The Pokomo in former times thought that 
the Milky Way was formed by the smoke from the cooking- 
fires of the “ancient people’; in later times, after they had 
suffered from Somali raids, they called it njia ya Wakatwa, 
“the road of the Somali,” because these used to come to them 
from the north-east. The Wachaga seem to have something 


of the same notion,”® for they say that, when the Milky Way 
is clearer than usual, God is warning them of an approaching 

The Bushmen held that the Sun and Moon were once 
human beings and lived on the earth;* their presence in the 
sky is due to the mysterious “ early race,” who “ first inhabited 
the earth.” The Sun, who did not belong to this race, lived 
among them, shedding light from under his arm intermit- 
tently, as he lifted or lowered it, and only on a small space 
round his own hut. Some children, at the suggestion of their 
mother, stole up to him while he was asleep and, by a concerted 
effort, flung him up into the sky, so that he might “ make 
bright the whole place.” After this, he “became round and 
never was a man afterwards.” 

We do not here get any hint of the Sun and Moon being 
regarded as man and wife. This view seems to be held by 
the Nandi” and also by the Wachaga,’* who have a common 
saying: Now,” i.e. at sunset, “ the Sun-Chief is handing his 
shield to his wife.” 

These people, who use the name Jruwa (“Sun”) for their 
High God —a conception they may have borrowed from the 
Masai, as they make a very clear distinction between Iruwa 
and the ancestral ghosts — certainly seem to associate him with 
the Sun. Some kind of worship is paid to the latter: at sunrise 
they spit four times towards the east ** — this suggests Masai 
influence — and utter a short prayer: “O Iruwa, protect me 
and mine! ” The New Moon is greeted in a similar way. 
Gutmann thinks that these ceremonies are relics of a primitive 
sun-cult; but it seems more likely that they were adopted 
from the Masai and superimposed on the Bantu ghost-worship. 
The greeting of the New Moon is of fairly frequent occur- 
rence among the Bantu, but there does not seem to be any 
developed system of moon-worship. 

Various legends show us Iruwa endowed with the attributes 


of the personified sun. We have the tale of Kyazimba,” who 
was “ very poor ” and, in his sore extremity, set out for “ the 
land where the sun rises.” As he stood gazing eastward, he 
heard steps behind him and, turning, saw an old woman who, 
on hearing his story, hid him in her garment and flew up with 
him to mid-heaven, where the sun stands at noon. There he 
saw men coming, and a chief appeared and slaughtered an ox 
and sat down to feast with his followers. Then:the old wo- 
man, whose identity is not revealed, asked his help for Kya- 
zimba, whereupon the chief blessed him and sent him home, 
and he lived in prosperity ever after. Still more striking is 
the story of a man who having lost all his sons, one after 
another, said, in his rage and despair: “‘ What has possessed 
Iruwa to kill all my sons? I will go and shoot an arrow at 
him.” So he went to the smiths and had a number of arrow- 
heads forged, filled his quiver, took his bow and said, “I will 
go to the edge of the world, where the sun rises, and when I 
see it I will shoot — #-chi! ” (a sound imitating the whistling 
of the arrow). So he arose and went, till he came to a wide 
meadow, where he saw a gate and many paths — some leading 
to heaven, others back to earth. Here, he waited for the sun to 
rise; and suddenly, in the silence, he heard the earth resounding 
as if with the march of a great multitude, and voices cried: 
“ Quick! open the gate, that the King may pass through! ” 
Then he saw many men coming, goodly to look on and 
shining like fire, and he was afraid and hid himself in the 
bushes. Again he heard them cry, “ Clear the road for the 
King! ” and another band passed. Then appeared the Shining 
One himself, radiant as glowing fire, and after him yet another 
troop. But those in front said: “ What stench is here, as if a 
son of earth had passed? ” They searched about, found him 
and brought him before the King, who asked him, “ Whence 
come you? and what brings you to us? ” The man answered: 
“‘ Nothing, lord — it was sorrow which drove me from home; 


I said to myself, ‘ Let me go and die in the scrub.’ ” The King 
said: “ How is it, then, that you said you were going to shoot 
me? Shoot away! ” But the man did not dare. Then the 
King asked him what he wanted. “ You, O Chief, know with- 
out my telling you.” “Do you want me to give back your 
children? There they are”—and the Sun pointed behind 
him — “ take them away and go home.” 

The man looked and saw his lost children, but they were 
so changed, so beautiful, that he could scarcely recognise them, 
and said: “ No, lord, these are yours: Keep them here with 
you! ” So the Sun said: “ Go home, and I will give you other 
children instead of these. Moreover, you will find something 
on the way which I shall show you.” 

So he went his way and found game in such abundance, that 
he had enough to eat till he got home, and also many tusks, 
which he buried, till he should be able to come back for them 
with his neighbours. With this ivory he bought cattle and 
became rich; and in due time sons were born to him, and he 
lived happily. 

The Rainbow, as is natural, has attracted attention every- 
where; it is looked upon as a living being — usually a snake, 
and, curiously enough, often dreaded as a malignant influence. 
The people of Luango, however, believe in a good and an 
evil rainbow.” Sometimes it is not itself the snake, but merely 
associated with it; the Ewe * look on it as the image, reflected 
on the clouds, of the great snake Anyiewo, when he comes out 
to graze or, according to others, to seek for water in the clouds. 
His ordinary abode is in an anthill, out of which he arises after 
rain and to which he returns. If he falls on any person he at 
once devours him, for which reason both rainbow and anthills 
are regarded with dread. But if any one can find the spot 
where either end of the rainbow has touched the earth, his 
fortune is made, for these are the caches of the famous “ Ag- 
ery ” and “ Popo ” beads, which are so prized, as they cannot be 


manufactured now, but are only dug out of the earth — from 
old graves and forgotten sites.” The Subiya ™ also associate 
the Rainbow with anthills though they do not seem to figure 
it as a serpent, but as a “beautiful animal” not further de- 
scribed. If you come across him, you must run in the direction 
of the sun, for then he cannot see you; if you run away from 
the sun, he catches you and you are lost. But those who know 
how to take the proper precautions can sometimes see him come 
out of his ant-heap and frolic about with his children — “ C’est 
comme de jeunes chiens qui jouent agréablement,” says M. 
Jacottet translating from his native informant. 

The Zulus * appear to have given various accounts of the 
rainbow, which they call either wmnyama, “the animal,” or 
utingo lwenkosikazi, “the Queen’s Bow ” or rather “ Arch,” 
that is, one of the bent rods or wattles forming the house of 
the Queen of Heaven. Some say that it is a sheep — which 
does not seem easy to understand; others that it lives with a 
sheep, or that it lives with a snake — in any case, its dwelling- 
place is a pool. Its influence is peculiarly unpleasant. Utsh- 
intsha’s testimony, as related to Bishop Callaway, is as follows: 

“I had been watching in the garden when it was raining. 
When it cleared up, there descended into the river a rainbow. 
It went out of the river and came into the garden. I, Utsh- 
intsha, the owner of the garden, ran away when I saw the 
rainbow coming near me and dazzling in my eyes; it struck 
me in the eyes with a red colour. I ran away out of the 
garden . . ._ because I was afraid, and said: ‘ This is disease; 
why does it come to me?’ Men say: ‘ The rainbow is a disease. 
If it rests on a man, something will happen to him.’ So, then, 
after the rainbow drove me from the garden, my body became 
as it is now, that is, it was affected with swellings.” 

At the beginning of the rainy season in the tropics — espe- 
cially where, as in Natal, it coincides with the hot weather, 
people often suffer from boils, prickly heat, or some equally 


distressing complaint. This particular witness had “a scaly 
eruption over his whole body,” which, whether caused by 
atmospheric conditions or not, no doubt coincided with the 
appearance of the rainbow. 

There is a curious Chaga tale * of a Dorobo who set out 
to ask God for cattle and, coming to the place where the rain- 
bow touches the earth, remained there praying for many days. 
But no cattle appeared. When, at last, it became clear that 
his prayers were in vain, “his heart swelled,” and he took his 
sword and cut through the rainbow. Half of it flew up to the 
sky; the other fell down and sank into the earth, leaving a 
deep hole. Some people, who had the curiosity to climb down 
into this hole, found that it gave access to another country so 
attractive that they felt disposed to stay there. But they were 
soon driven away by lions — it is not stated whither they fled 
or what became of them, and when a further contingent of 
settlers arrived, they found the first-comers gone, heard the 
lions growling, and returned. No one has ventured down since. 

Some young Masai warriors * are said to have killed a 
rainbow, which came out of Lake Naivasha by night and de- 
voured the cattle at their village. On the third night of his 
coming, they heated their spears in the fire and waited for his 
appearance, when they stabbed him in the back of the neck, 
just behind the head — his only vulnerable part. 

An interesting Kikuyu “ legend makes the Rainbow, Mu- 
kunga Mbura, figure in the “‘ Swallower ” myth referred to in 
a previous chapter. A curious point in the story is that, when 
the hero is about to kill Mukunga Mbura, the latter says: “ Do 
not strike me with your sword over the heart, or I shall die, 
but open my little finger, . . . make a big hole, not a little 
one.” When the boy did so, all the people and cattle whom 
the Rainbow had eaten came forth from the incision, just as 
the cows came out of the old woman’s toe in “ Masilo and 
Masilonyane,” ** a story which does not otherwise belong to 


the same group. Another feature connecting this story with 
the ogre tales to be dealt with in our next chapter is that, when 
it was decided, after all, to destroy Mukunga Mbura, lest he 
should come again to eat people as before, and the warriors 
hacked him to pieces, one piece went back into the water. The 
warrior then went home and said that he had killed Mukunga 
Mbura, all but one leg: “ but tomorrow I will go into the water 
and get that leg and burn it.” But when he came back next 
day, the water had disappeared; there were only a num- 
ber of cattle and goats grazing on the plain. ‘“ What remained 
of Mukunga Mbura had gathered together his children and 
taken all the water and gone very far — but the beasts he had 
not taken but left behind.” 

Of myths connected with thunder and lightning, perhaps 
the most remarkable is that of the Lightning-bird, which is 
best known from the Zulu accounts;** but we find that the 
Baziba * also think that lightning is caused by flocks of bril- 
liantly-coloured birds, which are flung down to earth by Kayu- 
rankuba, the spirit presiding over storms; the thunder is 
the rushing sound of their wings. The Zulu Lightning-bird 
is described by Callaway’s informant as red and glistening; 
it is sometimes found dead where the lightning has struck the 
earth and is greatly prized by medicine-men as an ingredient 
in powerful charms. But the Lightning-bird has also been 
directly identified as a kind of heron, called by the Boers 
hammer-kop (Scopus umbretta), the destruction of whose nest 
is said to cause rain. Some say that the Lightning-bird buries 
itself in the ground where it strikes and has sometimes been 
dug up by an isanusi (doctor); others ** that it lays a large egg, 
which the isamusi tries to dig up, though none has ever yet 
found one. 

Thunder is more often spoken of as a person than lightning, 
which is sometimes called a weapon or instrument — the Wa- 
chaga *’ call it “ God’s axe,” and the Lower Congo people * 


say that it is made by a blacksmith, living in the centre of Ka- 
kongo. The Thunder is by them called Nzasi and goes about 
hunting, with twelve couples of dogs. A native told Mr. 
Dennett how he had once seen Nzasi’s dogs. “ It was raining, 
and he and his companions were under a shed playing at 
marbles, when it began to thunder and lighten. It thundered 
frightfully, and Nzasi sent his twenty-four dogs down upon 
them. They seized one of the party who had left the shed 
for a moment, and the fire burnt up a living palm-tree. 

This recalls a curious experience related by an old Chaga 
woman to Gutmann and probably to be explained in the same 
way — illusory images impressed on the retina dazzled by the 
lightning-flash and shaped by sub-conscious thought. She said 
she saw God (Iruwa), apparently in human shape, but “as 
large as a cow,” one side of his body shining white, the other 
red as blood. He had a tail, which was also parti-coloured — 
red and white. It is a remarkable fact that the Heaven- 
dwellers are sometimes represented as tailed.” 

Another Congo man had a disastrous encounter with 
Nzasi.*° Going through the bush he was caught in the rain, 
and, hastening home, met a beautiful dog, wet through, like 
himself. He took it into his hut, meaning to keep it as his 
own, and lit a fire to dry and warm it, but “ suddenly there was 
an explosion, and neither man, dog, nor shimbec (hut) was 
ever seen again.” The dog, Antonio said, was Nzasi himself 
— but thunder and lightning are often spoken of as one. 

A different aspect of the lightning appears in another inci- 
dent related as true by the same Antonio: * “ There is a man 
still living who declares that he was translated to heaven and 
saw Nzambi Mpungu. He lives in a town not far from Lo- 
ango. He says that, one day, when it was thundering and 
lightning and raining very heavily, and when all the people 
in his village, being afraid, had hidden themselves in their 
shimbecs, he alone was walking about. Suddenly, and at the 

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1. Majaje, a famous chieftainess and rain-maker 
in the mountains of North Transvaal. She was be- 
lieved to be immortal and is said to have suggested 
to Rider Haggard the idea of his romance She. ‘The 
truth seems to be that there was a succession of 
“Majajes,” and the death of each one, when it oc- 
curred, was kept secret by her councillors. 

2. The “New Yam” ceremony in the Calabar 
country; chiefs pressing forward to partake of the 
offerings. Analogous “ feasts of first-fruits” are 
found, probably all over Bantu and Negro Africa — 
e.g. the wkutshwama of the Zulus. The idea seems 
to be that it is not safe to make use of the new crops 
till the chief has “taken off the tabu” by tasting 

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moment of an extraordinarily vivid flash of lightning, after a 
very loud peal of thunder, he was seized and carried through 
space till he reached the roof of heaven, when it opened and 
allowed him to pass into the abode of Nzambi Mpungu. 
Nzambi Mpungu cooked some food for him and gave him to 
eat. And when he had eaten, he took him about and showed 
him his great plantations and rivers full of fish, and then left 
him, telling him to help himself whenever he felt hungry. 
He stayed there two or three weeks, and never had he had such 
an abundance of food. Then Nzambi Mpungu came to him 
again and asked him whether he would like to remain there 
always, or whether he would like to return to the earth. He 
said that he missed his friends and would like to return to 
them. Then Nzambi Mpungu sent him back to his family.” 

Leza “ is sometimes identified with the lightning, and the 
“red ” and “ black ” gods of the Masai ** with the lightning 
and the rain-cloud. Elsewhere, we do not often find the rain 
regarded as a distinct personality, except among the Bushmen, 
who record various instances of the Rain being made angry 
by inconsiderate conduct. Miss Lloyd on one occasion found 
a curious and beautiful fungus, which she carried home and 
kept for some days. Subsequently, as she feared it was going 
bad, she desired the Bushman, Hankasso, to throw it away. 
He demurred, but finally removed it, explaining afterwards 
that he had not thrown it away, but laid it down gently, as it 
was “a rain’s thing,” and must not be treated roughly. His 
care did not prevent a tremendous downpour, which he attrib- 
uted to the displeasure of the rain at the ejection of the fungus. 

In general, stories about rain are concerned with the pro- 
ducing or withholding of it: it is well known that (as is only 
natural in a country where water is scarce) the rain-maker’s is 
a most important profession among the Bantu. The Giryama, 
in time of drought, practise incantations at the grave of a 
woman, Mbodze, who was a famous rain-maker in her day, 


and who — inconsistently enough — is said to have been caught 
up to heaven in a thunderstorm. 

The late Bishop Steere published, in the South African 
Folk-Lore Journal,” a story which would appear to be con- 
nected with some. myth of this sort. It was related, as current 
among her own people, by a girl in one of the mission 
schools at Zanzibar, a freed slave who had been brought from 
the Chipeta country, west of Lake Nyasa. At a time when 
water was scarce, though food was plentiful, some little 
girls went to play in the scrub outside their village, carry- 
ing with them their miniature cooking-pots and some pro- 
visions. Among them was a child whose parents were both 
dead. She said to her companions: “I will show you some- 
thing, but you must not tell any one.” They all promised to 
be silent. Then she stood and looked up at the sky, and pres- 
ently clouds began to gather, and in a short time there was a 
heavy shower, which filled their water-jars, so that they were 
able to cook their food; but it did not reach the village. When 
they went home, they took some of the cooked food with them, 
but refused to answer any questions as to how it had been ob- 
tained. Next day they went out again, and the orphan girl 
procured rain as before; but this time one of the other children 
secretly brought a second water-jar, and, when she had filled 
it, hid it in the bushes, while she used the other for cooking. 
That night she told her mother, under promise of secrecy, 
and showed her where she had hidden the water-jar, which 
they brought back to the house. As might have been expected, 
the story was soon all over the place, and at last reached the 
ears of the chief. He sent for the child to the council-place, 
loaded her with gold ornaments, and directed her, in the pres- 
ence of the assembled people, to bring rain. (We may perhaps 
infer that there had been ineffectual attempts at persuasion. 
The “ gold ornaments ” are probably a touch only introduced 
after the story had reached the coast region.) She asked all 


the bystanders to retire to a distance, but they refused. Then 
she looked up at the sky and sang; the clouds collected, and 
presently there was a great rain, with lightning and thunder, 
and, in the midst of it, the child was caught up to the sky and 
never seen again. 

Not very long ago, I read over the orginal Swahili of the 
above to a Zanzibar man, who was a Zigula by birth, and fairly 
versed in his native folklore, though he had been at sea, and 
out of touch with his own country for years.’ He did not pro- 
fess to recognise it, but remarked at the end that the little 
girl who brought the rain was mtoto wa malaika, “a child of 
the angels”; which may have been a Moslem way of saying 
that she belonged to the Heaven-dwellers referred to in pre- 
vious chapters. It seems likely, too, that the explicit statement 
of her parents having died was inserted by some narrator who 
did not fully understand the story, and that the original merely 
said either that she had no parents or that no one knew who 
they were, as was the case with Vere. 

The sea does not figure very largely in Bantu mythology: 
it is only a few tribes who have been long enough in touch with 
it to have any ideas on the subject.“* The tribes of the 
Guinea coast include sea-gods and goddesses in their pantheon, 
but do not seem to personify the element itself; and, in gen- 
eral, we may repeat what has been said on previous occasions, 
that sea-spirits, like river-spirits, lake-spirits, tree-spirits, etc., 
are not so likely to be personifications of these phenomena, 
or even powers specially and exclusively attached to them, as, 
in the last resort, ghosts of mortal men. 

That there may be spirits of another sort, who are not 
ghosts, nor exactly what we mean by Nature Powers, is not 
disputed; and these, as “ Haunting Demons,” will come within 
the scope of the next chapter. But some, even of these, can be 
shown to have started in life as ghosts.*” 


E FIND, all over Africa, more or less, the notion of 
beings which cannot be explained either as ghosts or 
personified Nature-powers and which perhaps may be most ap- 
propriately called “Haunting Demons.” Not all of those 
can be properly described as monsters, though many have 
more or less monstrous characteristics. Some are, no doubt, 
nightmare-phantoms originating in the horror of lonely places: 
the dark recesses of the forest, the poisonous swamp, the blaz- 
ing heat of noon over the sandy scrub. But even here the line 
is very difficult to draw. Klamroth," for instance, after making 
a very careful study of the spirits or demons extant in Uza- 
ramo, came to the conclusion that many, if not all of them, 
such as Mwenembago, the “ Lord of the Forest,” were ghosts 
who had taken to haunting the wilds. On the other hand, 
Aziza, the Hunter’s God or Forest Demon of the Ewe,’ is 
clearly (if we may say so), an intensified chimpanzee. 

The Pokomo describe a being which haunts the forests of 
the Tana and the open bush-steppe bordering on them, to 
which they give the name of Ngojama.* It has the shape of a 
man, but with a claw (“an iron nail,” said my informant) in 
the palm of his hand, which he strikes into people if he catches 
them. He then drinks their blood. This creature has by 
some Europeans been supposed to be an anthropoid ape * — 
no species of which has hitherto been recorded from East 
Africa. I think he is more likely to be purely mythological. 

From a Musanye at Magarini (in the Malindi district), I 
learnt that the ngojama, though something like a human being, 


has a tail, like certain Masai “ devils.” ° A man of the nar- 
rator’s tribe, long ago, came to grief through mistaken kindness 
to a ngojama. He came across him in the bush, wandering 
about and eating raw meat: he took him in hand, taught 
him to make fire and to cook, and had to some extent civilized 
him, when suddenly, one day, the wgojama reverted to type, 
turned on his benefactor and ate him. 

The Nama Hottentots of the Kalahari tell of queer and 
monstrous shapes haunting the scrub and the sand-dunes: the 
Aigamuchab ° who have eyes on their feet — on the top of the 
instep — instead of the usual place. They walk upright, their 
eyes looking up to the sky; if they want to know what is going 
on around them, they progress on hands and knees, holding 
up one foot, so that the eye looks backwards. They hunt men 
as if they were zebras, and tear them to pieces with their 
terrible, pointed teeth, which are as long as a man’s finger. 
These cannibals are not solitary, like the ngojama, but live in 
villages, with their wives and children. There are stories of 
people straying into an Aigamuchab village and escaping with 
difficulty. Another mythical tribe of the same sort are the 
“* Bush-jumpers,” Hai-uri,’ who progress through the scrub by 
jumping over the clumps of bush instead of going round them. 

Another denizen of the Pokomo forest is the Kitunusi, who 
seems to be related in some degree to the Giryama Katswmba- 
kazi, who, again, has points of contact with the “ Little 
People ” discussed in our next chapter. The Katsumbakazi 
is said to be of very low stature;* so is one kind of Kitunusi 
(there are two) ° — according to my Pokomo informant’s indi- 
cation, he stands about two feet six. The other is of normal 
human height, but does not appear so, as it is his habit to move 
about in a sitting position. Thinking he must be some primi- 
tive kind of cul-de-jatte, I enquired whether he was devoid 
of legs, but was assured that he had them. He is greatly 
feared, for those who meet him are apt to be seized with severe 


illness and perhaps lose the use of their limbs. But in old 
times people sometimes wrestled with him, and, if they could 
succeed in tearing off a piece of the kaniki waist-cloth which is 
his usual wear, their fortunes were made. A man would put 
away this bit of rag in the covered basket in which he kept his 
choicest possessions, and he would somehow or other (my in- 
formant did not enter into particulars) become rich. 

Here is a link with the Chiruwi,"° who haunts the woods in 
Nyasaland, and to whom we shall presently return. The Swa- 
hili of the coast seem to be acquainted with the Kitunusi but 
to have a different conception of him." He lives in the sea, 
and is dreaded by fishermen. He is variously described as “a 
large fish which devours men who are bathing or diving in the 
sea,” or as the spirit possessing such a fish — as Krapf quaintly 
says, “the natives believe that a ghost or Satan sits in the fish 
and instigates him ” (without the fish’s knowledge, we are else- 
where informed) “ to swallow a man.” 

This might suggest that the Pokomo Kitunusi is really a 
water-sprite, like the Zulu Tokolotshe or Hili.” This would 
not be surprising, when we remember how the River Tana is 
bound up with the life of this tribe, and how much of their 
time they pass either on or in the water; but I have met with 
nothing to support this notion. On the contrary, the Kitunusi 
seemed rather to haunt the sandy scrub away from the river. 

The Chiruwi just mentioned belongs to a very numerous 
family, who figure in the mythology of other continents besides 
Africa and who might be called “ half-men,” as they are 
usually more or less human in shape. Their body is split 
longitudinally:— they have only one eye, one ear, one arm 
and one leg — only in one instance do we find an obscure 
mention ** of a person divided transversely. They may be 
malevolent or the reverse: a Nyanja tale ** relates how, some 
children being cut off by a river in spate, they were carried 
across by a “ big bird, with one wing, one eye, and one leg.” 


Masks used in initiation ceremonies by the Bap- 
ende. Probably intended, in the first instance, to 
represent the spirits of the dead. After photographs 
by E. Torday. 


Chiruwi (Chitowi of the Yao)” is a being of this class, who 
haunts the forest, carrying an axe of the ornamental kind which 
is borne before chiefs. Some say that one side of him is made 
of wax, others that it is missing altogether, and “ he is invis- 
ible if viewed from the off-side.” If any one meets the 
Chiruwi, the latter says: “ Since you have met with me, let us 
fight together.’ They then wrestle, the odds being on 
Chiruwi, who is “ very strong,” and, if the man is overcome, he 
“returns no more to his village.” If, however, he is able to 
hold out, till he throws Chiruwi down, the latter shows him all 
the valuable medicinal herbs in the bush, and he becomes a 
great doctor. The Baila of the Middle Zambezi ** have a simi- 
lar belief, but their Sechobochobo is of kindlier mould, “ he 
brings good luck to those who see him, he takes people and 
shows them trees in the forest which can serve as medicine ” — 
without any preliminary conflict. 

The Subiya"’ also have their Sikulokobuzuka (“the man 
with the wax leg”). A certain man named Mashambwa was 
looking for honey in the forest, when he heard Sikulokobuzuka 
singing, but did not at first see him. He heard a honey-guide 
calling, followed him to the tree where the bees had their nest, 
lit his torch, climbed the tree and took the honey. He had 
scarcely done so when he saw Sikulokobuzuka coming. He 
came down with his wooden bowl of honey, and the goblin 
immediately, demanded it of him. Mashambwa refused, and 
the other challenged him to wrestle. They struggled for a 
long time, and Mashambwa, finding his opponent very strong, 
and despairing of victory as long as they were on the grass, into 
which Sikulokobuzuka could hook his foot, pulled him off on to 
the sand and threw him down. He then said to him: “ Shall I 
kill you? ” The other replied: “ Don’t kill me, master; I will 
get you the medicine with which you can bewitch people to 
death.” “I don’t want that medicine — is there no other? ” 
“ There is another — one to get plenty of meat.” “I want that 


one.” So Sikulokobuzuka went to look for it and showed him 
all the medicines good for getting supplies of food, and also 
that which gains a man the favour of his chief. Then 
they parted. Mashambwa lost his way and wandered 
about till evening, when he once more met the waxt 
legged man. The latter guided him home to his village 
and left him, telling him on no account to speak to any 
one. So Mashambwa went into his hut and sat down on 
the ground, and when his friends addressed him, he never 
answered; and at last they said to each other: “ He has 
seen Sikulokobuzuka.” Then he fell ill and remained so 
for a year, never speaking throughout that time. At the end 
of the year, he began to recover, and one day, seeing some 
vultures hovering over a distant spot in the bush (this seems 
to have been a sign that his probation was over), he said: 
“ Look! those are my vultures! ” and sent some men off to the 
place. They found a buck freshly killed by a lion, and thence- 
forth Mashambwa never wanted for food or any other nec- 

These half-men can scarcely be classed as ogres; but there 
are various tribes of ogres having only one arm and one leg, 
while others, though in various ways monstrous and abnormal,” 
have not this peculiarity. The Basuto call the former class 
of beings “ Matebele ” ** — probably from having come to 
look on their dreaded enemies, the Zulu tribe of that name, as 
something scarcely human. The tale of Ntotwatsana relates 
how, while a chief’s daughter was out herding the cattle on 
the summer pastures, a whirlwind caught her up and carried 
her to a village of the Matebele “ who had but one leg, one 
arm, one ear and one eye.” They married her to the son of 
their chief, and, to prevent her escape, buried a pair of magic 
horns in her hut. One night, she tried to run away, but the 
horns cried out: 


“ U-u-u-e! it is Ntotwatsana, who was carried away by a whirlwind 
in the pastures, 
When she was herding the cattle of her father, of Sekwae! ” 

Then the Matebele came running up and caught her. 

As time went on, she had two children, twin girls, who were 
like their mother, with the usual number of limbs. Years 
passed, and one day the maidens went to the spring to fetch 
water, and found there a warrior with his men. He called to 
them and asked: “ Whose children are you? ” 

“We are the children of the Rough-hided One.” 

“Who is your mother? ” 

“¢ She is Ntotwatsana.” 

“Whose child is she? ” 

“We do not know — she has told us that she was carried 
away by a whirlwind in the pastures.” 

So he said: “ Alas! they are the daughters of my younger 

Then some of his men drew water for them, while others 
cut reeds and trimmed them neatly with their knives. Their 
uncle said to them: “ When you get home, ask your mother 
to go and get you some bread, and, when she is gone, hide the 
reeds under the skin she sits on.” 

So they went home, put down their water-pitchers, and 
began to cry, telling their mother, who was sitting outside the 
hut, that they were very hungry and asking her to get them 
something to eat. She got up to fetch them some bread, and 
as soon as her back was turned, they slipped the bundle of 
reeds under her rug. When she came back, she sat down on 
the reeds and crushed them: the girls began to cry again, and 
when their mother found out what was the matter, she said 
she would send a young man to get other reeds for them. As 
they had been instructed, they acted like spoilt children, and 
insisted that no reeds would do unless their mother picked them 
herself. So she went to the spring and of course found her 


brother there, whom she recognised at once, and who asked her 
when she would come home. She explained that she was un- 
able to come, on account of the horns, and he said: “ If you are 
Wise, warm some water, and when it is boiling pour it into 
the horns, then stop up their openings with dregs of beer, and 
lay some stones on top of them, and when it is midnight, take 
your two children and come here.” 

She did as directed, and at midnight called her daughters, 
and they went down to the reed-bed by the spring, taking with 
them a black sheep. The horns tried to give warning, but, 
being choked could only produce a sound “ U—u—u ”— which 
the villagers took for the barking of the dogs. They had 
gained a considerable start before the horns succeeded in clear- 
ing their throats and cried: 

* U-u-u-e! it is Ntotwatsana, who was carried away by a whirlwind 
in the pastures, 
When herding the cattle of her father: of Sekwae! ” 

The Matebele started in pursuit, hopping on their one leg. 
It was beginning to dawn, and they were drawing near to the 
travellers, when the sheep lifted up its voice and sang: 

**’You may as well turn back, for you have no part nor lot in us.” 7° 

The Matebele stood still in astonishment, gazing at the 
sheep, which then began to dance, raising its tail and dig- 
ging its hoofs into the ground. When Ntotwatsana and her 
companions had again got the start of their pursuers, the 
sheep disappeared and, by some magical means, overtook its 

“The Matebele departed, running as in a race; they ran 
wildly through the open country, one before the other. They 
arrived near Ntotwatsana. The sheep sang and danced again, 
then disappeared. When the Matebele departed, they said: 
‘ By our Chief Magoma! we will go, even if we were to arrive 


at Ntotwatsana’s village; that little sheep, we must simply 
pass it, even if it dances and sings so nicely.? They went on.” 

However, when the incident was repeated, they grew weary 
and gave up the pursuit. Selo-se-Magoma, the Rough-hided 
One, went home sad; but the brother and sister reached their 
village in safety and found every one mourning Ntotwatsana 
as dead. So the story ends happily. 

A favourite character in the tales of the Zulus and the Ba- 
suto is the [zimu (Lelimo), usually rendered “ cannibal ”; 
but his characteristics suggest that “ ogre ” is a more appropri- 
ate term. It is quite clear that what is meant is not a man who 
has taken to eating his fellow-men — as did certain unfortu- 
nate people in Natal, during the famine that followed on 
Tshaka’s wars **— but something decidedly non-human. This 
word, as has been remarked in a previous chapter,” is found 
in closely allied forms in most Bantu languages; but the 
creature connoted is not always the same. Sometimes he be- 
longs to the class of half-men; sometimes he seems more akin 
to the monsters Kholumodumo, Usilosimapundu and Isikquk- 
qumadevu. There is a strange Chaga tradition of a man who 
broke a tabu and became an Jrimu.** Thorny bushes grew out 
of his body, till he became a mere walking thicket and de- 
voured men and beasts. He made himself useful, however, 
by swallowing a hostile war-party who were raiding the 
country, and was finally disenchanted, under the advice of a 
soothsayer, by his brother, who came up behind him and set the 
bushes on fire. 7 

The name Dzimwe, used by the Anyanja, is evidently the 
same word, and is somewhat vaguely defined as meaning “a 
big spirit,” but in their tales, he seems somehow or other to 
have got confused with the elephant, and figures chiefly as 
the butt and victim of the Hare, filling in some instances, the 
exact part played by the Hyena, or, in the New World by 
Brer Fox and Brer Wolf. The Swahili have not departed 


so far from the original conception of their Zimwi, but the 
word has been to some extent displaced by the borrowed terms 
jini and shetani. The Swahili version of a very popular story 
runs as follows: ** 

Some girls had gone down to the beach to gather shells. 
One of them picked up a specially fine cowry, which she was 
afraid of losing, and so laid it down on a rock till they returned. 
On the way back, she forgot her shell till they had already 
passed the rock, when she asked her companions to go back 
with her. They refused, but said they would wait for her, 
and she went back alone, singing. There was a Zimwi sitting 
on the rock, and he said to her: “ Come closer, I cannot hear 
what you say! ” She came nearer, singing her petition: “ It 
is getting late! let me come and get my shell which I have 
forgotten! ” Again he said: “I can’t hear you! ” and she 
came still nearer, till, when she was within reach, he seized 
her and put her into the drum which he was carrying. With 
this he went about from village to village, and, when he 
beat the drum, the child inside it sang with so sweet a voice 
that every one marvelled. At last he came to the girl’s own 
home and found that his fame had preceded him there, so that 
the villagers entreated him to beat his drum and sing. He 
demanded some beer and, having received it, began to perform, 
when the parents of the girl immediately recognised their 
child’s voice. So they offered him more beer, and, when he 
had gone to sleep after it, they opened the drum and freed the 
girl. Then they put in “a snake and bees and biting ants,” 
and fastened up the drum as it had been before. Then they 
went and awakened him, saying that some people had arrived 
from another village, who wanted to hear his drum. But the 
drum did not give forth the usual sound, and the Zimwi went 
on his way disconcerted. A little later, he stopped on the 
road to examine his drum; but, as soon as he opened it, he was 
bitten by the snake and died. On the spot where he died, 

260 : AFRICAN 

so far from the original conception. wes ‘their tieth but the 
word has been to some extent displaced by the borrowed. terms 
fini and shetani. The sian version of a nid ocd story 
runs as follows: ’ 

Some girls had gone aan to the ai to gather abate 
One of them picked up a specially fine cowry, which she ‘was 
afraid of losing, and so laid it down on a rock till they returned. 
On the way back, she forgot her shell till they had already 
passed the rock, when she asked her companions to go back 
with her. They refused, but said they would wait for her, 
ind she went back alone, singing. There was a Zanes gitting 
on the rock, and he said to her: “ Come closer, d cannot Rea 
what you say!” She came nearer, singing her petition: «Tt 
is gettme late! let mec ~ PLATE X XxvV which I have 

en!” Again he said: “1 can’t hear you)” aed ane © 
Dance of Yaos (near Blantyre), both men and. 
Mert taking Partin which he was carrying. With 
m Village to village, and, when he — 

nild inside it sang with so sweet a Voice” 

rvelled. At last he came to the pirl’s own 

that his fame had preceded him there, so that 

cated hint to beat his drum and sing. Hie 

beer and, having received it, began to perform, 

rents of the girl immediately recognised their 

5o they offered him more beer, and; when he = © ~ 

after ad the y opened the drumvand freed the: 

cn they put in “2 snake and beet amd biting antyy 

id fastened up the drum as it had beem Mefere. Then they ~ 

<ened him, saying that some people had arrived — ‘ 

from another village, who wanted to hear his drum.” . But the : “ 
' drum did not give forth the usual ——. ead the peureenieisen 1 5 
on: As Ww: ay disconeumadle A little tah ee ihe 

road te examine his drum; but, as soon as he opened it, i was : 

bitten by the snake and dies, On the pot with ‘he ‘ — 

Pe ase 

ee es 
a Teas aaa 
ret ie 



pumpkins and gourds sprang up, and in due time bore fruit. 
Some children passing by stopped to look at them and said: 
“ How fine these big pumpkins are! Let us get father’s sword 
and split them open! ” One of the pumpkins, we are told, 
“ became angry ” and pursued the children, who fled till they 
came to a river, where they got an old ferryman to take them 
across, and, passing on, reached a village where they found. 
the men seated in the council-house and asked for help. “ Hide 
us from that pumpkin! The Zimwi has turned into a pumpkin 
and is pursuing us! When it comes, take it and burn it with 
fire! ” The pumpkin came rolling up and said: “ Have you 
seen my runaway slaves passing this way? ” ‘The men replied: 
“What sort of people are your slaves? We do not know 
them! ” “ That’s a lie, for you have shut them up inside! ” 
But they seized the pumpkin and, having made a great fire, 
burnt it to ashes, which they threw away. Then they let the 
children out, and they returned home safely to their mothers. 

In parts of West Africa, such as Sierra Leone, where Eng- 
lish (of sorts) has almost become the vernacular, the Zimwi, 
or whatever his local representative may have been called, 
has become a “ devil ” (or, more usually, “ debble ”). Thus 
we find, among Temne stories,” “ The Girl that Plaited the 
Devil’s Beard ” and “ Marry the Devil, there’s the Devil 
to Pay.” The latter introduces a theme which recurs again 
and again in “ were-wolf ” stories: a girl who had refused 
all suitors is at length beguiled by a handsome man who is 
really a disguised “ debble.” Like some varieties of the 
Zimwi, he has only half a body; but he borrows another half 
for the occasion: “he len? half-side head, half-side body, all 
ting half-side.” On the way to his home, his wife sees the 
borrowed parts drop off one by one. The husband prepares 
to kill and eat her, but she is saved by her little brother, who 
had insisted on following her, though sent back again and 


Among the Kikuyu, “ the JJimu takes the form of a man, 
either normal or abnormal in shape, and talks like a man, 
‘but is a beast.? His body is either wholly or in part invul- 
nerable. His great characteristic is that he feeds on human 
flesh.” ** In one of the stories, he is described as having one 
foot and walking with a stick, “and his other foot comes out 
at the back of his neck, and he has two hands.” If this is 
correctly reported, it looks like a distorted recollection of the 

The Wachaga seem to attribute various forms to their 
Irimu. One has already been mentioned. He seems some- 
times to be associated with the idea of a leopard: in fact Gut- 
mann calls him “ the were-panther ” (Werpardel),”’ but this 
description certainly will not always fit — for instance, in the 
following story.” Here, presumably, we are to understand 
that the dog’s nature became changed after drinking the child’s 
blood: the indestructible part (here, the skull) is a feature oc- 
curring elsewhere; but it is not clear how far the creature 
developed out of it is the same as the original dog. 

There was a certain young married woman, named Muko- 
sala, who had a small child. She had no one to help her in 
looking after it; but, one day, a strange dog appeared at the 
homestead, and took to coming regularly, as Mukosala fed 
him. She grew so used to him that one day, when she wanted 
to leave the house, she said: “ I will give you this bone, if you 
watch the baby nicely till I come back.” The dog agreed, and 
performed his task well for a time; but, growing impatient, 
he took the bone and cracked it, and a splinter flying from it 
hit the baby’s neck and drew blood. Unable to resist the sight 
of the blood, he sucked at it till he had killed the child, which 
he then devoured. He took the bud of a banana-tree (which 
may be quite as large as a small baby), laid it on the bed and 
covered it with a cloth, saying to the mother, when she re- 
turned: “ Take care not to wake him: I have just fed him.” 


But she very soon discovered what had happened and, sending 
him away to fetch dry banana-leaves, called her husband. 
When the dog came back, they seized him, bound him securely 
and threw him on the heap of dried leaves, which they set on 
fire, so that he was consumed, even to the bones, all except the 
skull. This rolled away, first into an irrigation-channel and 
thence into the river, which washed it up into a meadow. 
Some girls, coming down to cut grass by the river, and chewing 
sugar-cane as they walked, saw the skull and took it for a white 
stone. Some of them cried out: “ What a beautiful white 
stone! — as pretty as baby brother! ” and threw it some of 
their sugar-cane as they passed. But one laughed at her 
friends, and said: “ How silly! how can a stone be like your 
baby brother? ” They finished cutting the grass, helped each 
other up with their loads and turned to go home. But when 
they came back to the skull, they found that it had grown into 
a huge rock which barred their path. So they began to sing 
spells in order to remove it. The first one sang: 

*€ Make room and turn aside! 
Let us pass! Let us pass! 
She who laughed in her pride 
Is far behind — turn aside! — 
We come with our bundles of grass — 
Let us pass! Let us pass! ” 

The rock moved aside and let her through. Each of her 
companions in turn sang the same words and went on. Last 
of all came the girl who had jeered at the skull, and she, too, 
sang the magic song, but the rock never stirred. So she had to 
wait there till evening. Just as it was growing dark, a leopard 
appeared and asked her: “ What will you give me, if I carry 
you over? ” 

“T will give you my father.” 

“That won’t do! ” 

“Or my mother! ” 


“No use.” 

“7?l] give you the ox next the door, at home.” 

ce No.” 

“The one in the middle — the one next the wall? ” 

“JT don’t want any of them.” 

“ Then I will be your wife.” 

“‘T agree to that,” said the Leopard. ‘“ Now hold on to my 

She did so, and he climbed the rock, pulling her after him. 
But, just as he had got half-way, his tail broke, and she fell 
down. Other leopards came, one after another, but the same 
thing happened to each. At last came a leopard with ten tails, 
who made the same bargain as the rest. She seized all his 
tails at once and was carried safely over. After he had gone 
a little distance with her, he asked if she could still see her 
father’s house. She said that she could, and he went on, re- 
peating the question from time to time, till she answered: “ I 
can still see the big tree in the grove by my father’s house.” 
Still he kept on his way up the mountain side and soon came to 
a rock, where he stopped and cried: “ House of the Chief, 
open! ” The rock opened, and they entered the leopard’s 
dwelling, which consisted, like a Chaga hut, of two compart- 
ments, one for the people and one for the cattle. He took up 
his quarters in the latter, leaving the other to his wife, whom 
he kept well supplied with fat mutton and beef. He himself 
lived on human flesh, but he always brought his victims in by 
night and hid them in the cow-stall, so that his wife never saw 
them.” After some months, when he considered her fat 
enough (a fact ascertained by stabbing her in the leg with the 
needle or awl used in thatching and mat-making), he went out 
to invite his relatives to the feast, telling them to bring a sup- 
ply of firewood with them. While he was gone, her brothers, 
who had been searching for her, reached the rock. She heard 
their voices and called out to them the magic words 


which would open it. They came in and she set food before 
them, but the husband came home suddenly, and she had only 
time to hide them in the spaces under the rafters, where the 
young leopards slept. The cubs began to growl, and the 
Trimu became suspicious, but his wife pacified him by saying 
that they were hungry. The brothers escaped during the 
night, while he slept. Next day, after he had gone out, the 
wife smeared herself all over with dirt, and also plastered 
dirt on the threshold, the cooking-stones, the posts to which 
the cattle were tied, and the rafters of the roof. To each of 
these she said, “If my husband calls me, do you answer, 
‘Here! ?” 

Then she got out of the house * and hastened homeward. 
On the way, she met one after another of the Jrimu’s kinsfolk, 
each one carrying a log of wood on his shoulder. Each one, as 
he passed her, asked: “ Are you our cousin’s wife? ” and she 
answered: “ No, his wife is sitting at home, anointing herself 
with mutton-fat! ” 

They suspected nothing and passed on, to be met by the 
Irimu, who conducted them to the rock and called his wife. 
The threshold answered “‘ Here! ” but no one came, and he 
called again. This time the voice answered from the fire- 
place, and so on, till he had searched the whole house in vain 
and come to the conclusion that his wife had escaped. He 
then heard from his guests how they had met her and been 
deceived by her and, leaving them to make the preparations 
for the banquet, he set out in pursuit. 

Meanwhile the wife had reached a river too deep to ford 
and cried: “ Water, divide! Let this stand still and that 
flow! ” Immediately the stream divided, and she went 
through dryshod, and, having gained the further bank, said: 
“ Water, unite and flow on! ” The water did so, and she sat 
down to rest and cleanse herself. Presently the Jrimu appeared 
on the other side and asked her how she had got across. She 


answered: * You have only to say to the water, ‘Divide! Let 
this stand still and that flow! ? But when you are in midstream, 
say, ‘Come together again!?” The Jrimu did as he was 
told and was carried off by the current. As he was being 
swept out of sight, he cursed her, saying: “ Wherever you go, 
you shall only see people with five heads! ” She called after 
him: “ Go your way and take root as a banana-tree! ” 

The woman went on, and soon came upon some people who 
had five heads. When she saw them, she burst out laughing, 
and four of each person’s heads dropped off. They said: 
“Give us back our heads! ” So she gave them strings of 
beads and passed on. The same thing happened over and over 
again; but at last she reached her parents’ village in safety. 
The Jrimu, for his part, was washed ashore by the stream, 
took root on the bank and became a banana-tree. 

The concluding incidents, as we have them, are not very 
clear, but we may perhaps connect the last one with another 
Chaga story,” where a woman, carrying her baby with her, 
goes to the river-bank to cut grass, and finds a banana-tree 
with ripe fruit.*” She says: “ Why, these are my bananas! ” 
and the bananas reply: “‘ Why, that is my son! ” The little 
child breaks off a banana and one of his fingers drops off. 
Subsequently, they meet an Jrimu, who tears the child to 
pieces. The relation between the Jrimu and the banana-tree 
is not stated, but may be guessed without difficulty, when we 
recall the preceding story, and the pumpkin-plant which 
sprang from the dead Zimwi in the Swahili tale.* 

The latter part of the “Irimw’s Wife” belongs to the 
numerous tales which have been classified under the heading 
“Flight from Witchcraft.” It is found here in a compara- 
tively simple form, the obstacles occurring in most of them 
being reduced to one — the river. And here we may remark 
that the dividing of a river—either by a mere “ word of 
power,” as here, or by striking it with a staff — is too common 


an incident in African folklore to be ascribed to echoes of 
missionary teaching. It occurs, not only in fairy-tales, but 
also e.g. in the traditions of the Zulus, who bring it down 
to so recent a period as the northward migrations of Zwan- 
gendaba, about 1825. The Basuto,™* in the tale of “The 
Nyamatsanes,” describe a man flying from ogres, who throws 
a pebble behind him. This becomes a high rock, which they 
cannot pass. Where the obstacles are multiplied, as in the 
Swahili “ Kibaraka ” (thorns, rock, swords, water, fire, sea), 
outside influence would seem to have been at work. 

The theme is exemplified in nearly every part of Africa, 
sometimes in a very close parallel to “ Hansel and Gretel,” 
but more usually in the case of a girl married to an ogre (or 
were-wolf) and saved by a younger brother or sister. Some of 
them we shall have to notice in a later chapter. 


E HAVE mentioned Kitunusi and Chiruwi among the 
uncanny denizens of the wood and wild in Tanaland 
and the Shire Highlands respectively. Both these beings link 
on to a set of legends, which seem, like those of the elves and 
“Good People” in Europe, to refer, ultimately, to some 
former inhabitants of the country, of smaller stature and 
lower culture than the later invaders, yet possessed of knowl- 
edge and skill in certain arts which gave them a reputation for 
preternatural powers. Some had a knowledge of metal work- 
ing, others a familiarity with the ways of wild animals and the 
properties of plants, which might seem little short of miracu- 
lous to the more settled agricultural or even the pastoral tribes. 
The mystery of their underground dwellings; their poisoned 
arrows; their rock-paintings and sculptures (which, moreover, 
seem to have served some magical purpose) —all had a share 
in building up their mythical character. As regards Europe, 
the subject has been fully treated by Mr. David MacRitchie 
in The Testimony of Tradition and other works. 

The Giryama, whose country adjoins that of the Pokomo, 
have the Katsumbakazi, who appears to be in some respects 
akin to the Kitunusi. He is, says the Rev. W. E. Taylor,’ 
“a p’ep’o or jinn, said to be seen occasionally in daylight. .. . 
It is usually malignant. When it meets any one, it is jealous 
for its stature (which is very low) and accordingly asks him: 
‘Where did you see me?’ If the person is so unlucky as 
to answer: ‘ Just here,’ he will not live many days; but if 
he is aware of the danger and says: ‘ Oh, over yonder! ” he 


W's E BAYS mentioned Kitunual ond Chisuela n . ng the 
canny denizens of the wood and wild i mm Tanaland 

i the Shi re Highlands respectively. Both these bei gs lin. 
to a set of | lege nds, which. seem, Iie these of the elves ond 
People”? in Europe, to cefer, altmately, te some 
habitants of the oo of smaller — ‘and 

iture than ¢t he Lat invaders, yet. 

cull in certain mer B. S808 a rep eo for 
tural powers. PLATE XXVE of metal 5 “i 
~ Group of Ituri_ jesivs of wild animals and the 
After a photograph by E. Tordaye short of miracu- 
‘led agricultural or even the pastoral tribes. 
ry of their underground dwellings; their poisoned 
if rock-paintin gs and sculptures (which, moreover, 
ved some magical purpose) —-all had a share 
1o their mythical character. As fegards Europe, 
has been fully treated by Mr, David MacKatehie - 
imony of Tradition. and other Works... 7. 
2, whose country adjoins that of the Pokom 
Katsumbakazi, who appears to be in some respects 
the Kite He is, says the Rev. W. E. Taylor, : 
a p'-p'o or jinn, said to be seen occasionally in daylight. a 
If is us ually malignant. When it 2. one, it is j euge alc lou 
for its stature (which is very low) a nd a = 
‘ Where did you see me?? If the persc 
to answer: ‘ lust here, he will ak 

he is aware of the danger and s 40h, 



ae Unt an. 

Bod ba ‘ 


‘. ne 


will be left unharmed, and sometimes even something lucky 
will happen to him.” 

This sensitiveness as to their size appears to be a common 
trait among similar beings. Mr. Mervyn W. H. Beech’ 
heard from the Akikuyu elders in Dagoreti district that the 
country was “ first inhabited by a race of cannibal dwarfs 
called Maithoachiana.” These were followed by some 
people called Gumba, said to have been the makers of the old 
pottery now sometimes dug up, and also to have taught the 
Akikuyu the art of smelting iron. Mr. Beech was informed 
by the District Commissioner of Fort Hall that “the 
Maithoachiana appear to be a variety of earth-gnomes with 
many of the usual attributes; they are rich, very fierce, very 
touchy, e.g. if you meet one and ask him who his father is, he 
will spear you, or if he asks you where you caught sight of 
him first, unless you say that you had seen him from afar, he 
will kill you. . . . Like earth-gnomes in most folklore, they 
are skilled in the art of metal working.” 

There seems to be some difference of native opinion here, 
as some say it was the Gumba who were the metal-workers. 
Stone implements are found everywhere in the Kikuyu 
country. Again, some say it was the Gumba who lived in 
caves, as many of the people round Mount Elgon still do; 
others that it was the Maithoachiana who lived in the earth. 
Maithoachiana means, in Kikuyu, “ eyes of children.” 

There are legendary dwarfs called by the Swahili Wabili- 
kimo. Krapf says* that they are said to live four days’ 
journey west of Chaga, “they are of a small stature, twice 
the measure from the middle finger to the elbow.” Krapf, 
or his Swahili informant, endeavours to derive the name from 
-bili (-wili), “two,” and kimo, “measure”; but it very 
likely belongs to some language of the interior, and the Swahili 
may have followed the practice of popular etymologists all 
over the world in trying to get a meaning, by hook or by crook, 


out of an otherwise unintelligible word. In Giryama, mbiri- 
kimo is “ a member of the rumoured race of Pygmies,” * and I 
have myself heard of them, quite accidentally, from a Gir- 
yama; at any rate it seems clear that the name and the story 
came from the interior. Krapf says: “ The Swahili pretend 
to get all their knowledge of physic from these pygmies ” (this 
is his gloss on the statement that they go to “ Mbilikimoni ku 
tafuta uganga, ‘ to search for medicine ’”), “ who have a large 
beard and who carry a little chair on their seat which never falls 
off wherever they go.” Krapf goes on to make severe re- 
flections on the fables invented by the “ credulous and design- 
ing Swahili”; but the last statement has some foundation in 
the fact that several tribes of the interior are in the habit of 
carrying their little wooden stools slung at their backs by a 
hide thong, when they travel; and, seen at a distance these 
might be taken for a fixture of their anatomy. 

“ All medicine” (uganga, generally understood as refer- 
ring to the occult department) “is in their country ”; and 
herein, they resemble Bushmen, Lapps, and elves. But it is 
not clear whether they are the same people as the Kikuyu 

In Nyasaland, Sir Harry Johnston® found, twenty-five 
years ago, that the natives had a tradition as to “a dwarf race 
of light yellow complexion,” living on the upper part of 
Mlanje mountain. These may have been actual Bushmen, 
and, indeed, a careful study of the population in some parts 
of the Protectorate suggests that there must have been a con- 
siderable absorption of Bushman blood in the past. “ They 
gave these people a specific name, ‘ A-rungu,’ but I confess 
this term inspired me with some distrust of the value of their 
tradition, as it was identical with that used for ‘ gods.’ ” 

It may only have meant that these “ little people” were 
passing into the mythical stage which they, or some like them, 
have already reached in other parts of Nyasaland. Dr. H. S. 


Stannus ° found that, while the Yaos in some parts of the 
Protectorate use the word Chitowe (pl. Jtowe) in the sense 
already mentioned (as equivalent to Chiruwi), others apply 
it as follows: 

“Among the Machinga Yao the Jtowe are ‘the little 
people’ of the Leprecaun order. They rob the gardens and 
cause rot among the pumpkins; their little footprints can be 
seen where they have passed hither and thither; fruits and 
vegetables that they touch will become bitter. To prevent 
these disasters, the Yao, at the time when their crops are 
ripening, take some of their different kinds of vegetables and 
place them at cross-roads, hoping thereby to satisfy the Ztowe 
and prevent them coming into the gardens. The Chitowe is 
variously said to be like a man but rather like an animal. He 
has two legs, but goes on all fours. The Yao describe another 
legendary race of ‘little people’ who ‘used to live in the 
country and may still be met with— who knows’? He 
was of very small stature, grew a long beard, was very touchy, 
quarrelsome and fierce, and carried spears as his weapons. 
When anyone met one he was immediately asked: ‘ Mumbo- 
nelekwapi?? (From how far did you see me?) and it was 
always as well to pretend to have seen the little man coming 
a long way off and make him believe he was considered quite 
a big person; if you said, ‘ Hello, I have only just spotted 
you! ? he would immediately spear you. They are com- 
monly supposed to dwell on the tops of high mountains and 
are iron-workers. They are called the Mumbonelekwapi.” 
The Machinga Yao dwell on the upper side near the outlet of 
Lake Nyasa. 

The going on all fours may remind us (though it is not the 
same) of the Kitunusi’s mode of progression. 

Dr. Stannus goes on to say that the same legend is found, 
not only among the Anyanja and Yao, but among the Henga 
and Nkonde at the north end of Lake Nyasa, and everywhere 


the same name, the equivalent of “ Where did you see me? ” 
is in use. And here, at the risk of wearying the reader with 
another parallel, we will pass on to the Zulus, and reproduce 
the account of the Abatwa given to the late Bishop Callaway 
by Umpengula Mbanda.’ 

“The Abatwa are very much smaller people than all other 
small people; they go under the grass and sleep in anthills; 
they go in the mist; they live in the up-country, in the rocks; 
they have no village of which you may say ‘ There is a village 
of the Abatwa.’? Their village is where they kill game; they 
consume the whole of it and go away. That is their mode of 

“ But it happens if a man is on a journey and comes sud- 
denly on an Umutwa” (singular of Abatwa), “the Umu- 
twa asks, ‘Where did you see me?’ But at first through 
their want of intercourse with the Abatwa a man spoke the 
truth and said, ‘I saw you in this very place.’ Therefore the 
Umutwa was angry, through supposing himself to be despised 
by the man, and shot him with his arrow, and he died. There- 
fore it was seen that they like to be magnified and hate 
their littleness. So then, when a man met with them, 
he saluted the one he met with, ‘ I saw you! ?” (the customary 
Zulu greeting, Sa-ku-bona). “The Umutwa said, ‘ When 
did you see me? ? The man replied, ‘I saw you when I was 
just appearing yonder. You see yon mountain? I saw you 
then, when I was on it.? So the Umutwa rejoiced, saying, ‘ O, 
then, I have become great.? Such then became the mode of 
saluting them.” 

There is a little addition to this account, which, whether 
originally a part of it or not, belongs to a comparatively re- 
cent period, since it assumes, as a matter of course, that the 
Abatwa possess horses. 

“It is said, when Abatwa are on a journey, when the game 
is come to an end where they have lived, they mount on a 


horse, beginning on the neck, till they reach the tail, sitting 
one behind the other. If they do not find any game, they 
eat the horse.” 

Their “ dreadfulness,” according to Umpengula, lies in 
their very insignificance: “ They are little things, which go 
under the grass. And a man goes looking in front of him, 
thinking, ‘If there come a man or a wild beast, I shall see.’ 
And, forsooth, an Umutwa is there, under the grass; and the 
man feels when he is already pierced by an arrow; he looks, 
but does not see the man who shot it. It is this, then, that 
takes away the strength.” 

Their arrows, too, are always poisoned, so that the slightest 
wound is fatal, and thus it is no wonder if they were felt to be 
something not altogether human. The sense of horror and 
mystery which they inspire is admirably rendered in a sketch 
of Frederick Boyle’s,° describing some uncanny Bornean 
forest-folk whom he calls Ujit; but what authority there is 
for this, I do not know. I remember, when passing through 
the forest which clothes the range of hills a few miles inland 
from Mambrui, on the East Coast, a little to the North of 
Malindi, one of the porters suddenly remarked: “ Wasanye! ” 
I heard a cry of “Dungich!” (“the European”) from 
among the trees, caught one glimpse of moving shapes, and 
all was still. Presently I noticed the peculiarly insistent call 
of some bird, repeated again and again and answered by 
another. “ Is that a real bird, or the Wasanye? ” I asked the 
man nearest me. “The Wasanye,” he answered. We saw 
and heard no more of them at that time. 

These were perfectly harmless people and so, in many cases, 
are the Bushmen. “Some are of gentle disposition, ready 
to do any service,” says Father Torrend; ° “ others wage war on 
all living beings and cannot be trusted with anything.” It 
would have been only fair to add that the disposition of these 
latter is consequent on the treatment that they have met with. 


Bishop Callaway adds in a note: “ But they are not Bush- 
men which are here described, but apparently pixies or some 
race much more diminutive than the actual Bushmen. Yet 
the resemblance is sufficiently good to make it almost certain 
that we have a traditional description of the first intercourse 
between the Zulus and that people.” 

Further comparative research shows that the doubt here 
conveyed was needless. These Abatwa are certainly the real 
Bushmen, though they have passed into the region of myth- 

This name, under various easily recognisable forms, is 
found in many parts of Africa; sometimes applied to actual 
pygmies, sometimes to people who are not particularly 
dwarfish, but also resemble the Bushmen in their mode of life, 
or have other characteristics in common with them. Thus the 
(Bantu) Pokomo of the Tana River call the Wasanye Wa- 
hwa, and there are people called Batwa living in the marshes 
of Lake Bangweolo, who cannot be described as pygmies.”° 

But everywhere, the name seems to be given by the present 
population of the country to some earlier inhabitants. The 
Watwa of Urundi consider themselves, says P. Van der 
Burgt,* “the true aborigines of the country. They are... 
hunters, smiths, potters, . . . nomad, timid, cruel, irascible, 
greatly given to magic arts, very black, lean, below the mid- 
dle height, hairy. . . . The Warundi despise them, consider- 
ing them not men but beasts.” 

On the writer’s own showing, however, this can scarcely be 
accepted as an exhaustive description of the Warundi’s atti- 
tude, since the Watwa seem to have the same uncanny attri- 
butes as their congeners elsewhere. In their own ritual 
chants, they call themselves “sons of the stone-men,” which, 
whatever it may mean, seems to hint at a different origin from 
that of the people among whom they dwell. It is a pity that 
no further explanation is forthcoming. We have seen that, 


when African cosmogonies take any account of people other 
than the narrators, these are frequently said to have “come 
otherwise ”— like the stars in the idea of Browning’s Caliban 
— also the Hill Damara and the Bushmen. 

The Pygmies (Batwa) of the Kasai also “ came otherwise ” 
— their progenitors are held to have been the offspring ‘of 
trees, and the Bangongo informed Mr. Torday * that you can 
still see the great cracks in some trees from which they came 
out. Tradition tells that Woto, the fourth chief of the Bush- 
ongo, having left his people and retired into the forest, on 
account of the misdeeds of his relations, found himself very 
lonely and uttered an incantation. Thereupon the trees opened 
and sent forth a multitude of little beings who, when he asked 
them what people they were, answered: “ Binu batwe!” (“we 
are men”) — whence their name. “At the present day,” 
said the informant, “they, are human beings and have chil- 
dren like other people, but at that time they were only phan- 
toms in human shape, being the children of the trees.” 

They are regarded with superstitious terror; even those who 
have left the forest and settled down to agricultural life are 
considered more or less dangerous, and the other tribes never 
intermarry with them. 

However, there seems to be one place at least, where the 
Little People are friendly and helpful. This is on Kiliman- 
jaro, where some suppose them to live in a world of their own, 
within the mountain, with their banana-groves and herds 
of cattle. Poor or distressed people who find the entrance to 
this world are kindly received and dismissed with generous 
gifts, while the well-to-do, who come in hope of getting still 
richer, are driven out in disgrace. This reminds us of the 
numerous “ Holle ” stories (see Chapter V), though these be- 
long rather to the Kingdom of the Dead, and indeed this is 
expressly. stated in tales of this kind told by these very people, 
the Wachaga. It seems pretty clear, however, that the kindly 


Underworld folk are not the ancestors (warimu), but “the 
legendary earliest inhabitants of the country.” Some localise 
them, not inside the mountain, but on the top of Kibo — the 
huge, rounded, snowy dome of which you catch a distant view 
from the train, approaching Voi, as you come from Mombasa. 

“They are dwarfs with great, misshapen heads, who have 
retreated before the advancing tribes and taken refuge on 
the inaccessible height. They are called Wadarimba or Wa- 
konyingo. They have a kind of ladders, like the rafters in 
the roof of a native hut, fixed against the rocks, by which 
people can climb up to them, and which do not stop short there 
but reach straight up into the sky. These dwarfs, too, take 
pity on those in trouble as is related in many legends. The 
bits of meat which they lay out in the banana-groves when 
sacrificing to their ancestors, roll down the slopes of the moun- 
tains and turn into ravens.” ** Perhaps this is an attempt to 
account for the fact that the white-necked raven, fairly com- 
mon on Kilimanjaro, is seldom, if ever, seen as high as the 

The Wakonyingo are said to be no larger than human chil- 
dren, but to have enormous heads. They never lie down to 
sleep, but sit, leaning against the wall of the hut, for if they 
were to lie down, they could never get up again, being so top- 
heavy. If one of them falls, he has to wait for his friends 
to help him up, and therefore every Mkonyingo carries a horn 
at his belt, so that he can blow it to call for aid, if necessary.” 

They tell a story of the Wakonyingo,”* somewhat to the 
following effect: 

There was a poor man with two sons, Mkunare and Kan- 
yanga. As they had not even one cow, Mkunare said: ‘I will 
go upto Kibo. They say that a chief dwells there who has pity 
on the poor.? He took food with him and went up the 
mountain. First he came to an old woman sitting by the way- 
side, whose eyes were so sore that she could not see out of 


a * 

Pog he 

them, not inside the mountain, ee on the we of Kibo— the 
huge, rounded, snowy dome of which you catch a distant view - 
from the train, approaching Voi, as you come from. Mombasa. - 

“ They are dwarfs with great, misshapen heads, who have _ 
retreated before the advancing tribes and taken refuge on 
the inaccessible height. They are called Wadarimba or Wa- eo 
‘nin The “y have a kind of ladders, like the rafters in 
the roof of a native hut, fixed againet the rocks, by which 
imb up te therm, and which do not stop short there 
+raight up inte the sky. These dwarfs, toey take 
Se in aba as is related in many legends. The 

t which they \T out in the banana-groves when 
» thei + ancebth E XXVIII. slopes of the moun- 
ae Dwarfs ah ther BigsHéxdsis an attempt to — 
at the white-necked raven, fairly come 
iis a if ever, seen as high as the. — 

yingo are said to be no eee than human ee 
- enormous heads. They never ie dawaete | 
ning + the wall of the hut, for if-they 
n, they c ot never get up again, being aa top- _ 
f them falls, he has to wait for. his friends — 
therefore every Mkoayinge carries a baie 2 

hat he can bl aw it to call fet. aid, if nex 7 



> ae 

(here was a poor man with twoisanms, ‘Micuasee ‘and Ke 
yanga is they had not even one cow, Mkunare said: ‘ . 
goupto Kibo. They say that a chief dwells there who hi | 
a; | te poor,’ He took food with him and. we: s 
suaritain. First he came to an old woman 


them. He greeted her, and she thanked him, saying: ‘ What 
brings you up here?’ He told her, and she said: ‘ Lick my 
eyes clean first, and then I will tell you how to reach the chief.’ 
He could not bring himself to do this and went on till he came 
to the Wakonyingo and found all the men sitting at the 
Chief’s kraal. None of them was bigger than a little boy 
who herds the goats (which the youngest do, before they are 
considered capable of going with the cattle). So he took 
them for children and. said: ‘Good-day, youngsters. Just 
show me the way to your fathers and big brothers! ? The 
Wakonyingo answered: ‘ Just wait till they come!’ He 
waited, but no grown men appeared, and, as the evening fell, 
the Little Ones drove in the cattle and killed a beast for sup- 
per; but they gave him no meat, only saying: ‘ Wait till our 
fathers and brothers come!’ So he had to go away hungry, 
and, when he reached the old woman once more, she would 
answer no questions. He lost his way and wandered about 
for a month before getting home, where he reported that a 
great tribe with many cattle lived on the top of Kibo, but they 
were inhospitable and would give nothing to strangers. But 
as their case continued desperate, the younger brother, Kan- 
yanga, resolved to try his fortune. He set out, found the 
old woman and performed the charitable office requested of 
him. The grateful old woman then said: ‘Go straight on, 
and you will come to the Chief’s green, where you will find 
men no bigger than the goat-boys. But you must not 
think they are children, but greet them respectfully, as the 
Chief’s councillors.’ Kanyanga did as he was directed, and 
the Wakonyingo welcomed him and took him to the chief, 
who, on hearing his story, at once supplied him with food and 
shelter. In return for this generosity, Kanyanga taught the 
Wakonyingo the proper charms for protecting their crops 
against insect and other pests and also those for ‘closing the 
roads’ so that no enemy could enter their country. This is 


remarkable, as showing that certain kinds of magic may have 
been known to the later comers and not to the aborigines. 
These dwarfs were so delighted that each of them gave 
Kanyanga a beast and he returned home in triumph, driving 
his cattle before him and singing the Herding-Song: 

“‘ Bring me an axe to strike the tree — 

The Talking Tree that talks to me: 
Bairns, says he, and kine, says he — 

And where shall I graze those kine? tell me! 
They shall graze on Kibo, till Kibo is burnt off. 

They shall graze on Mawenzi, till the fire has swept the peak — 
They shall feed o’er Lalehu and on Kimala side, 

And in Leruhu swamp, till there’s no more grass to seek. 
On Mamkinga meadows, by Makirere banks — 

Down Kinenena slopes, till the grass is burnt and done... 
Down, down, to the pools of Kikulo and Malaa — 

And then they'll be at home, every one! ” 

So Kanyanga grew rich and restored the fallen fortunes of 
his clan. But the people made a song about his brother, 
which is sung to this day: 

“© Mkunare, wait till the fathers come! 
What right have you to despise the Little Folk! ” 

Here we find the Wakonyingo less aggressively sensitive 
about their small size than the Abatwa, and less extreme in 
their retaliation, though by no means disposed to overlook 
slights. Another story,’ partly to the same effect, describes 
their country as reached by a gateway — no doubt like those 
which lead to the fortified kayas of the Wanyika. Near the 
top of Kibo are two doors side by side, one giving access to 
the Wakonyingo’s ladders, the other leading downwards. 
Any one ill-advised enough to go through the latter would 
perish miserably, for those who come down again perceive 
what they were unable to see when going up — ghosts and 


a great fire. This story also describes the Wakonyingo women 
going down the mountan to cut grass, each with a gourd 
of cream tied to her back, to be shaken up as she walked, 
which was their method of churning. 

It thus appears that, if the Wakonyingo are not actually 
Heaven-dwellers, yet they resemble them in some respects. 
But the Thonga, as we have seen, believe in dwarfs actually 
living in the sky, who sometimes come down in thunder- 
storms,’’ but, from their connection with rain, they would have 
come more appropriately into the chapter on Nature Myths. 

On the other hand, Duff Macdonald * quotes a confused 
little tradition that “ people died and went to the graves and 
became Itowe,” but there is nothing to show that these are 
the same as the pixie-like Itowe described by Dr. Stannus.” 


OTEMISM seems to exist, or to have existed, all over 

Africa south of the Sahara. Sometimes we meet with 

it in a clear and unmistakable form, sometimes only in a state 

of survival, no longer understood — or only partly so — by 
the people themselves. 

This is not the place to discuss the nature and origin of 
totemism, or to compare its African manifestations with those 
found in other parts of the world. We are concerned with it 
only as a factor in mythology; and here it is of considerable 
importance. It may be well, for the sake of clearness, to 
start with Frazer’s definition "— the most recent and satisfac- 
tory known to me: 

“ A totem is a class‘of material objects which a savage re- 
gards with superstitious respect, believing that there exists 
between him and every member of the class an intimate and 
altogether special relation. . . . The connection between the 
man and his totem is mutually beneficent; the totem protects 
the man, and the man shows his respect for the totem in 
various ways, by not killing it if it be an animal, and by not 
cutting or gathering it if it be a plant. As distinguished from 
a fetish, a totem is never an isolated individual, but always 
a class of objects.” 

A totem may be an animal or plant, more rarely an inani- 
mate object, still more rarely an artificial object. There are 
“rain ” and “ sun ” totems among the Nandi and the Herero; 
a “hill ” totem in Nyasaland, and the Barolong (Bechuana) 
have an “iron” totem (tshipi). The way in which this origi- 


nated (as related to me by a member of the clan, Mr. Solomon 
Tshekiso Plaatje) may throw some light on other seemingly 
anomalous totems. The Barolong formerly “ danced ” (as the 
Bechuana say) * the kudu, and therefore could not eat its 
flesh. Once, in time of famine, it appears that a kudu was acci- 
dentally killed by some one; no one, however, dared to eat 
its flesh, though sorely distressed. The chief came to the res- 
cue, by suggesting that the totem should be changed and that 
they should thenceforth venerate, not the kudu, but the spear 
which had killed it. (This suggests that the “iron” totem 
belongs to the class, not merely of inanimate, but of artificial 
objects. ) 

Totems, as Frazer points out,’ are never worshipped in any 
real sense; the relation “is one of friendship and kinship.” 
The man “ identifies himself and his fellow-clansmen with his 
totem .. . he looks upon himself and his fellows as animals 
of the same species, and on the other hand he regards the ani- 
mals as in a sense human.” ‘Totemism may sometimes develop 
into worship of animals or plants, as may have been the case 
in ancient Egypt. The Baganda have a “ python-god,” 
Selwanga, whose temple is in Budu. His priests are members 
of the “ Heart ” clan, and there is nothing in Roscoe’s account 
to suggest that he is a totem;* but, when we find that a tribe 
to the northeast of Lake Victoria (the Kamalamba)* have a 
python totem, and that the two clans owning this totem pay 
special honours to the python, his origin is pretty evident. 
The Wawanga, a tribe allied to the Kamalamba, “ have certain 
sacred rites connected with the python. . . . Straw images of 
these snakes, with a pot of porridge or beer, and perhaps a 
few feathers stuck into the ground beside them, are often 
to be seen in the villages. In such a case, some one in the vil- 
lage has recently met a python and offered it food, or a fowl, 
and on his return has made this image of it.”° This applies 
to the whole tribe — not to any particular clan, and would 


appear to be a transition stage between the practice of the 
Kamalamba and that of the Baganda. 

Again, totemism appears to exist, though becoming obsolete, 
among the Ewe,’ and three Ewe totems, the Python, the 
Crocodile, and the Leopard, are enumerated by Ellis among 
~ “tribal deities.” It is true that he does not mention a Python 
clan, but his list is admittedly incomplete, and it does include 
a Snake clan (Ordafih-do; the Python god is Dafih-bi), which 
may be the same thing. 

Totemism is sometimes confused with the idea that the dead 
are re-incarnated in the form of animals; but the two notions 
are really quite distinct, as is quite clear when we consider 
what the Zulus say about the amadhlozi coming back as 
snakes. All animals of a given class are totems; but only a 
diviner can tell for certain whether any individual snake is or 
is not an idhlozi. Again, while other creatures besides snakes 
may be re-incarnated ancestors, there appears to be no case of 
their being appropriated to the particular clans, as they would 
be if they were totems. 

The Wachaga seem to be losing their hold on totemism — 
at least only three totems are recognised nowadays — viz., the 
Baboon, the Elephant, and the Python.* There are probably 
others, e.g. the Wild Boar clan explain their name by saying 
that their ancestor was once knocked over by a wild boar, and 
they do not consider it an honour to be addressed by it. But 
this seems to show that the real meaning has been forgotten. 
The clans above mentioned believe themselves to be descended 
from their namesakes, but whereas most peoples who still re- 
tain a conscious belief in totemism think that their ancestor was 
actually an animal — usually, one who took human shape in 
order to found the family — the Wachaga represent the human 
ancestor as having afterwards turned into an animal. This 
alone is a sufficient indication that the idea has undergone some 
change, and that totemism, as such, is more or less obsolete. 


A seeming exception to this last remark is the case of the 
Baboon clan. Their ancestor was a Baboon pure and simple 
who, having quarrelled with his fellows, went and settled in 
a village. However, the exception is only apparent, as the 
Wachaga believe these apes to be degenerate human beings. 
Certain people, being hard pressed by their enemies, fled into 
the jungle, and finding, after a time, that their huts had been 
burnt down and their fields wasted, gave up the attempt to 
lead a settled life and have remained wild ever since. Hence 
the founder of the clan was only returning to a state from 
which his ancestors had fallen. 

I think the notion of apes as degenerate men has been re- 
ported from various parts of Africa, but the stories I have my- 
self come in contact with, rather suggest the notion that they 
are inferior beings trying to raise themselves to human status. 
An East African tale relates how the Baboons, tired of being 
driven away from people’s gardens, chose one of their number, 
cut off his tail (by way of disguise), and sent him to settle in 
the nearest village, directing him to marry a woman of the 
place and then cultivate seven gardens, of which five were to 
be left for his relations, while he and his wife were to live on 
the other two. The arrangement worked well for a time; 
but at last the wife grew tired of working so hard, “ hoeing 
for those apes only! ” Her husband agreed with her; but 
his kinsmen overheard them talking in this way and hastened 
back to the Bush, where they informed the rest of the tribe. 
It was resolved that his tail should be restored to him: so the 
whole party set off for the village, carrying it with them and 

“ Nyani, hge nyani, hala muchirao! ” 
** Baboon, ho! baboon, come and take your tail! ” 

When they arrived at his abode, he was not at home, having 
gone to thatch his father-in-law’s house; but they followed 


him thither and kept on singing till the import of their song 
reached him where he was, perched on the ridge-pole of the 
hut. He seems to have thought no protests would serve him, 
for he merely asked them to let him finish the roof, and then 
descended and resumed his tail, much to the astonishment of 
his wife and her family — this being the first intimation of 
his real nature.” 

The Elephant totem of the Wachaga *° belongs to the Wa- 
konadai clan. The legend has it that a girl of this clan was 
once given in marriage against her will to a man of the Wa- 
kosalema. She refused to eat ordinary human food, subsisted 
on leaves and grass, and finally turned into an elephant, 
escaping into the forest. Since that time, elephants have 
greatly increased and have taken to feeding in people’s gardens 
which they formerly avoided. They never harm one of their 
own clan, but if they meet a Mukosalema, they instantly 
kill him or her. 

There does not seem to be a legend about the origin of the 
Python totem, which seems to have existed in many parts of 
Africa, but Gutmann’s account is a very good illustration of 
the way in which these people treat their totems. Whenever 
a marriage has taken place, a feast is made for the Python, 
and the young wife sweeps and adorns the hut with especial 
care. It is said that the reptile always appears and throws 
down in the court-yard some of the yellow berries which are 
looked on as its peculiar treasure. It then enters the hut, 
where the wife is seated on the ground, glides over her out- 
stretched legs and, after helping itself to the milk and other 
refreshments placed ready for it on a stool, passes out at the 
door and disappears in the scrub. 

Gutmann says that this great serpent is regarded as an em- 
bodiment of an ancestor; but this, as already pointed out, is 
not the same thing as a totem: moreover, he adds that they 
never pray or sacrifice to it, as they do to their ancestral spirits. 


The relation between a man and his totem is further ex- 
emplified by an experience of Mr. Hbollis’s** among the 
Nandi — a Hamitic tribe of East Africa. I give it in his own 

“In March, 1908, I was on the point of encamping at the 
foot of the Nandi escarpment. The porters were pitching the 
tents, the cook had lit his fire, and I was having lunch.: All 
at once an ominous buzzing warned us that a swarm of bees 
was near at hand, and in less than a minute we had to leave 
our loads and fly, hotly pursued by the bees. . . . During 
the course of the afternoon we tried two or three times to res- 
cue our loads but without success, some of the porters being 
badly stung in the attempt. At four o’clock, when I had just 
decided to do nothing more till dark, a Nandi strolled into 
camp and volunteered to quiet the bees. He told us that he 
was of the Bee totem, and that the bees were his. He said 
we were to blame for the attack, as we had lit a fire under the 
tree in which their honey-barrel hung. He was practically . 
stark naked, but he started off at once to the spot where the 
loads were, whistling loudly in much the same way as the 
Nandi whistle to their cattle. We saw the bees swarm round 
and on him, but beyond brushing them lightly from his arms 
he took no notice of them and, still whistling loudly, proceeded 
to the tree in which was their hive. In a few minutes he re- 
turned, none the worse for his venture, and we were able to 
fetch our loads.” 

The Nandi have a Baboon and a Leopard clan, but (unless 
it is included under the general designation of “ Snake ”) 
there does not appear to be a Python among their totems. 
The Hyena clan has some curious privileges and restrictions 
and is very highly esteemed. I mention this, because the hy- 
ena is to a certain extent respected by all Nandi, not merely 
by those whose totem he is, and is also the object of what might 
be called a cult among the Giryama and other tribes, who, as 


far as one knows, have no such totem. This may be a case of 
totemism developing into zoélatry, as seems to have happened 
with the Python. 

The Thonga, according to Junod,”* are not totemic, but 
two tales ** which he gives afford a strong presumption that 
they once were. As these form excellent illustrations of the 
subject, they may be given here. A young man married a girl 
named. Titishana, and, when the time came for him to take 
her home, her parents said: “ Take an elephant with you! ” 
(There is nothing in the tale, as it stands, to lead up to this 
astonishing offer, but it seems to be assumed that she would 
take some animal with her to her new home; perhaps she had 
begun by demanding the totem, and the parents made futile 
attempts to buy her off.) She refused, saying: “ Where 
should I keep him? there is no forest near my husband’s vil- 
lage.” They said: “ Take an antelope! ” but again she would 
have none of it. “ No! give me your cat! ” They would not 
consent. ‘ You know that our life is bound up with the cat! ” 
But the heartless daughter replied: “ That does not matter to 
me! I may meet with bad luck if you refuse! ” So they 
yielded and gave her the cat. When the young couple left 
next day, the bride, without her husband’s knowledge, carried 
the cat with her. On reaching their home, she secretly con- 
structed a kraal for it and kept it there. When, subsequently, 
she went out to cultivate her garden at a distance (no one 
being left at home in the hut), she told the cat he might come 
out and eat the cooked maize left in the pot. He did so, and, 
after scraping out the pot, took down the kilt belonging to her 
husband, and his rattles, put them on and began to dance, 

“Ohho! Titishana! Where have you gone, Titishana? 

You have gone away — va! va! va! ” 

Then, fearing he might be caught, he restored the things 


to their places and returned to his enclosure. He did the 
same every morning as soon as Titishana had left for the 
gardens, till, one day, he was overheard by some children, 
who went to tell the master of the house. The man refused 
to believe them, but hid himself near the door, and presently 
saw the cat, wearing his own kilt and ornaments, begin to 
dance. He fired at it and killed it, and, at the same moment, 
Titishana, hoeing in her garden, fell down, as if seized by 
sudden faintness. She called out: “ They have killed me at 
the village! ” and went home, crying aloud all the way. She 
sat down by the door of the hut, telling her husband to wrap 
the body in a mat — since she would die, if she saw it uncov- 
ered — so that she could carry it to her own village. She 
set out, her husband following behind, and on arriving, laid 
the bundle down in the middle of the public place. It seems 
there was no need to explain what had happened, for a woman 
came up to her and said: “ We offered you an elephant — you 
refused; we offered you an antelope — you refused; have 
you not now killed us all? —tell me! ” All the inhabitants 
of the village assembled there saying: “ We, the Cat-clan, 
are undone! ” 

Then they unrolled the mat and, one after another — the 
culprit being the first to do so — went to look at the dead cat, 
each one falling down dead, as he or she caught sight of it. 
The son-in-law went out, closed the gateway (the entrance 
to the circular stockade surrounding the village) with a heap 
of thorn-bushes, and went home, leaving the corpses to decay 
unburied. He told his friends that, by killing the cat, he 
had killed all these people, as their life depended on that 
of the beast. Moreover, he lost the dowry he had paid for 
his wife, since there was no one left alive from whom to 
claim it. 

It seems clear that this cat was a totem, and several points 
in the tale are interesting. The wife wants to keep her own 


totem, but is evidently not expected to do so, and disaster 
follows. Does this preserve an obscure memory of the 
change from female to male kinship? The fact of the clan’s 
life depending on the cat seems to favour the theory of the 
totem as external soul, which Frazer one time adopted, but 
afterwards saw reason to reject.” 

The same idea comes out in the story entitled “ Le Gam- 
badeur de la Plaine ”»—a translation of Matlangu wa libala, 
the shibongo or “ praise-name ” of the totem, which is here 
a buffalo. The incidents are much the same as those given 
above: the totem is kept secret from the husband, who finally 
kills it in ignorance. There are some differences: the buffalo 
is invisible to all except the wife *°; the wife, unable to feed 
him without betraying his presence, tells him to hide in the 
forest and come out at night to graze in the gardens and he 
performs various tasks for her — fetching wood and water, 
cultivating, etc. When he is killed, the wife tries to revive 
him by magical ceremonies, and would have succeeded, but 
that she was interrupted at critical moments. Finally, 
the members of the totem-clan, on hearing of the buffalo’s 
death, kill themselves and their children, which seems a less 
primitive conception than the other. 

According to Dr. Mansfeld,** the Ekoi of the Cameroons 
not only look on their totem animals as helpers and protectors, 
but can influence them to do their bidding, e.g., attack their 
enemies. The totem-group usually coincides with the village, 
i.e., it has become a matter of locality rather than of descent. 
The commonest totems are the hippopotamus, elephant, 
crocodile, leopard, and gorilla —also fish and snakes. This 
author gives a remarkable and beautiful photograph of a 
stream frequented by the totem of the Hippopotamus clan, 
where the monsters, being left undisturbed, are (or were) 
perfectly tame: the illustration shows sixteen heads calmly — 
floating on the smooth surface quite regardless of the white 


Harry Kambwiri (a native teacher of the Blantyre 
Mission and excellent narrator of folk-tales), with 
his wife Lucy. Both are mixed Yao and Nyanja 



man and his camera. They came at the call of the chief who 
acted as Dr. Mansfeld’s guide, and followed the party as 
they walked along the bank. 

The Ekoi theory seems to be that half of every man’s soul 
lives in an animal of his totem species, therefore it is only 
one particular animal which is his individual totem. Men 
of the Elephant clan will hunt elephants and kill them with 
impunity, so long as they spare those which are totems, for, 
apparently, not all elephants are totems. A man and his own 
totem will always instinctively recognise and avoid each other: 
as for other men’s totems, if the hunter, as he should do, has 
properly sacrificed to the elephant-fetish before starting, any 
totem-elephant he meets will make himself known by holding 
up one forefoot. Should he have omitted to sacrifice, he may 
wound or kill a totem, and the man to whom that totem belongs 
falls ill or dies, as the case may be. A man, it appears, can 
change himself into a crocodile or a hippopotamus, or what- 
ever his totem animal may be, and then make himself in- 
visible, in order to revenge himself on an enemy. But, at the 
same time, he can send the second half of his soul, embodied 
in the totem, on a similar errand. This seems a superfluous 
doubling of parts, and it is not explained why, given the power 
of assuming the animal form, it should also be necessary 
to become invisible. But the account comes from a careful 
observer, who knew the Ekoi language and was able to get 
his information at first-hand. It is possible that this particular 
form of totemism may have been modified through contact 
with the doctrine —so fully developed in West Africa — 
of the Bush-Soul. 

In many cases, totem-clans, besides being bound to respect 
their totems, are subject to various ceremonial prohibitions 
whose connection with the totem it is difficult to conjecture. 
Thus the Nandi clan called Kipoiis,"’ whose totems are the 
jackal and the cockroach, “ may not make traps, although 


they may hunt; they may not build their huts near a road; and 
they may not wear the skins of any wild animal except the 
hyrax.” This last prohibition applies to several other clans, 
while one (the Kipkenda) may wear the skin of any animal 
except the duiker. Their totem, however, is not the duiker, but, 
for one division of the clan, the bee, for the other, the frog. 
(The duiker is the totem of the Kipamwi clan, but — though 
of course they are not allowed to eat it — nothing is said as to 
the wearing of its skin.) People of the duiker totem may not 
plant millet, nor those of the bush-pig totem touch a donkey. 
The nature of these tabus is obscure, but they might possibly 
have originated in individual prohibitions, such as those issued 
by the Congo medicine-man to a woman before the birth of her 
child.*® He orders a feast, prescribing the food — both ani- 
mal and vegetable — to be prepared for it, and the child must 
abstain, either during life or for a certain fixed period, from 
the flesh of any animal or fish eaten at the feast. The restric- 
tion applies to animal food only, not vegetable; and we hear 
nothing of tabus other than dietetic. But there seems no reason 
why such should not be imposed, and probably they might be. 
Duff Macdonald *° gives a Yao story of a girl who was only al- 
lowed to marry on condition that she should never be asked to 
pound grain or anything but castor-oil beans. Her co-wife, in 
the husband’s absence, insisted upon her pounding the maize; as 
she did so “‘ water appeared up to her loins, she pounded again 
and it was at her neck, as she tried again, she was covered 
over.” A similar incident occurs in a story of the Chameleon 
narrated by Junod,” with the additional touch that the water 
became a lake. Again, we have a Kinga tale ** in which a boy 
is buried alive, close to a river, by some of his companions. 
His sister came to the river to fetch water, and, as she stooped 
to fill her gourd, she heard a voice saying: “If you are my 
sister, tell my mother that they have buried her eldest son! ” 
The girl ran home terrified, and said nothing of what she 


had heard. The same thing happened three days running, 
but, on the fourth day, she told her mother, who went down 
to the river with her, and hid herself, while the girl drew 
water. The mother heard the voice, went to the spot whence 
it seemed to come and lifted away the loose earth, uncover- 
ing the boy’s head. Then she fetched a hoe and dug him 
up. He was alive, but the flesh of one side was decomposed. 
They carried him home, and stayed with him three days. On 
the fourth, the parents went out to hoe their garden, and, 
before leaving, told the boy on no account to fetch fire, if 
asked todo so. When he was left alone in the hut, some chiefs 
came by and sat down to rest in the shade, telling the boy to 
bring some fire, as they wished to smoke. He refused several 
times, but, being threatened with a stick, complied, when he 
was immediately turned into water, and a large pool occupied 
the site of the hut. The chiefs fled in terror, and the parents, 
when they returned, went and hanged themselves in the hut 
of the people who had tried to murder the lad. 

Several points in this tale need clearing up, and it is probably 
imperfect as we have it. But if the boy’s totem was water, 
there would be a reason for the prohibition against meddling 
with fire, and also for his turning to water when the tabu was 
contravened. In the present form of the story, the motive is 
obscured, if not entirely lost; but perhaps a hint of it may be 
preserved in the statement that he was buried close to the 
river and discovered by his sister when drawing water. In the 
two preceding examples, there is no discoverable connection 
between the tabu and the water-totem, if it is such.” 

But it is only here and there, if at all, that we can trace any 
direct connection with totemism in the animal-stories which 
may be said to make up the great mass of African mythology. 
They are not so much a product of totemism as an outgrowth 
of the state of mind which gives rise to totemism, though, while 
the latter is more or less falling into oblivion, they continue 


to flourish and everywhere are the primary channel of the 
people’s budding literary instincts. The three branches of 
Africans whom we have envisaged in this study all possess 
them in enormous abundance, and while some themes, com- 
mon to all three, may have been diffused from a common 
centre, others may very well have originated independently 
and been developed by each in its own way. 

The principal hero of the Bantu animal-story is the Hare, 
who has reached America as Brer Rabbit. The bulk of the 
Negroes in the Southern States are descended from Bantu- 
speaking tribes — most of them, Igunderstand, from the Congo 
region. This is rather curious, in view of the fact that the 
Hare is not conspicuous in the folklore of the Congo people; 
but Mr. Weeks * suggests the solution, when he says: “ Brer 
Rabbit is the Gazelle (nsexi) »— either Neotragus or Dor- 
catherium, the Water Chevrotain, appears to be meant — 
“ [It] is very agile, and I suppose the slaves from Congo, find- 
ing no such animal in America, used the rabbit as a substitute.” 
But the real hare, found in most parts of eastern and southern 
Africa, is undoubtedly the animal which figures in the folk- 
tales of those regions and some of whose adventures, in all their 
details, are attributed to the little antelope who takes his place 
in the west — from the Congo northwards to the Cameroons 
and beyond the Bantu area as far as Sierra Leone. That this 
antelope should be called by English-speaking negroes “ Cun- 
nie Rabbit ” is something of a puzzle, perhaps to be explained 
by the great mingling of tribes which took place through the 
settling of freed slaves at Sierra Leone. Koelle’s vocabularies, 
collected there, include a number of Bantu dialects, some of 
them spoken by people whose tales deal with the Hare. Eng- 
lish, of a sort, became the common language of all the Sierra 
Leone settlers, and it would be quite natural if, in the inter- 
change of thought, the name “ Cunnie Rabbit ” was trans- 
ferred from the hero of the eastern tales to the protagonist 


of the western — the tales themselves being, in many cases, 
almost identical. I cannot help thinking that the Hare has the 
prior right, and that the so-called “ Cunnie Rabbit ” took his 
place in regions where no hares are to be found; “no form of 
hare has yet been recorded from the central or heavily for- 
ested regions of the Congo basin.” * 

The Hare (Kabulu) reappears in the folklore of Angola,” 
where he is one of the heroes of the celebrated Tar Baby story. 
Further south, among the Nama, his place is taken by the 
Jackal, who really belongs to Hamitic tradition, though he is 
occasionally found in Bantu tales.” The Basuto, who attrib- 
ute to the Jackal an adventure elsewhere belonging to the 
Hare, may have borrowed the former from the Hottentots. 
The Zulus are not altogether unmindful of the Hare (um- 
vundhla), though they have given his glory in great part to 
Hlakanyana; but he comes into his own again all over East 
Africa, not only among the Bantu, but with the Nilotic peoples 
north of Lake Victoria, even as far north as Darfur. The 
Hamitic Galla and Somali will have none of him, in his 
capacity of hero, counting him an unlucky beast — so much 
so that if he crosses a hunter’s path in the morning, the man 
will turn back at once, knowing that he will only meet with 
bad luck if he goes on. 

Abarea, whom I questioned at Mambrui in 1913, was very 
explicit on this point; and when I asked why it was that the 
Hare, if so abhorred, enjoyed so great a reputation and had 
so many tales told about him, he repudiated the suggestion 
and affirmed that it was not the Hare who, e.g., got the better 
of the Lion by inducing him to swallow a hot stone, but the 
Gedal (jackal). This is quite in accordance with the tra- 
ditions of the Nama, at the other end of Africa, and of the 
Masai, who also are partly Hamitic. The latter, accordingly, 
have two tales at least ** which elsewhere are given to the Hare. 
But we also find a Hare story” (containing the “ Uncle 


Remus” incident of “ Tu’n loose dat stump-root en ketch hole 
er me ”)*° which the Galla tell of the Jackal. 

The Tortoise is common to “ Bantu ” and “ Negro ” Africa; 
he is the one creature who is a match for the Hare in the first, 
and the Spider in the second. He, too, has crossed to the 
New World —as Brer Terrapin. He sometimes appears as 
the embodiment of experienced wisdom and shrewd benevo- 
lence, but sometimes also as a cold-blooded old Shylock, track- 
ing down his victims with infinite patience and persistence, 
and making them pay up, to the uttermost farthing. 

The Spider makes occasional appearances in the folk-lore 
of Bantu Africa, where some have explained him as an alias, 
if one may say so, of the Sun —the rays of the latter being 
compared to his web.” If it is correct that the Duala word 
for “ spider,” dibobe, is also used for the sky, there is certainly 
some ground for this assertion, but it is difficult to see how 
it applies to Anansi, the Spider, as he figures in the folk-tales 
of Sierra Leone and the Gold Coast. The latter can scarcely 
be said to represent the Hare in this region, as he has none 
of the latter’s better qualities — his cleverness has a wholly 
malignant character, and he is altogether without redeeming 
traits. In fact, we find him side by side with, and sometimes 
defeated by, Cunnie Rabbit.” 

These five are the principal characters in the beast-fable, 
as we have it in Africa. There are other protagonists, who 
appear less frequently: the Chameleon,” the Crocodile, the 
Python, various birds, the Frog (and particularly, in the 
Delagoa Bay region, the curious little species known to science 
as Breviceps mossambicensis) ** and others.” 

Then we have, en second plan, those who serve as butts, 
victims, or foils to the hero of the tale, and these are usually 
creatures of much greater size, strength, and apparent im- 
portance: the Lion, the Elephant, the Hippopotamus, the 
Rhinoceros, the Leopard, and the Hyena. 


The sense of fair play which delights in the confounding 
of the mighty by the weak things of the world, is, one hopes, 
common to human nature everywhere; but it seems to be 
specially marked in Africa — perhaps because its peoples have 
always been the prey of stronger and less scrupulous races. 
M. Junod, in classifying his Ronga tales, calls one division 
“ Ta Sagesse des Petits”? — but the trait is not confined to 
any one group: it could be as fully illustrated from his other 
classes of “ Contes d’Animaux” or “ Contes dOgres.” 

It is hardly fair, one may remark in passing, to say, as 
McCall Theal does:*° “ There was nothing that led to ele- 
vation of thought in any of these stories, though one idea 
that might easily be mistaken for a good one, pervaded many 
of them: the superiority of brain power to physical force. 
But on looking deeper it is found that brain power was always 
interpreted as low cunning; it was wiliness, not greatness of 
mind, that won in the strife against the stupid strong.” 

This, on the one hand, is far too sweeping, and, on the other, 
takes no account of the fact that you must not look for ethical 
ideals in fairy-tales, which are the playground of irresponsible 
fancy. What sort of ethical code could be inferred from 
“ Jack the Giant Killer,” “ Tom-Tit-Tot,” and others of our 
most popular tales, taken as they stand? 

To return to our subject: the Hyena, in his association with 
the Hare, is the most likely original of Brer Fox, possessing 
at the same time, some characteristics of Brer Wolf. He is 
cunning as well as brutal, makes friends with the Hare and 
takes advantage of his good-nature, but is no match for him, 
once his suspicions are aroused. The Lion is tricked over and 
over again, by Jackal and Hare. The Elephant likewise cuts 
a very poor figure, so, as a rule, does the Hippopotamus, 
though one Ronga story,” curiously enough, represents him 
as a benevolent fairy god-father —a kind of subaqueous Dr. 
Barnardo, who receives lost or deserted children and in 


due course restores them to their sorrowing parents, if any. 
We are not informed what ultimately becomes of the un- 
claimed ones. 

In the following chapters an attempt will be made to group 
the principal tales relating to the Hare and Jackal, the Tor- 
toise, and the Spider. 

There is a distinct type of tale (that on which Kipling’s 
Just-So Stories are to some extent modelled), which professes 
to explain the origin of certain animals, or of their peculiarities. 
Thus we learn why the Hare has a short tail and long ears 
(one version has it that his ears became elongated through 
so many people stroking them in their delight at his clever- 
ness), why the Spider has a flattened body and lives in dark 
corners, why the Parrot has bright red tail-feathers, and so on. 
The Rock-Rabbit has a little stump of a tail because, when 
tails were being given out, he stayed at home, as it was a wet 
day, and sent some one to fetch his for him. The Snake has 
no legs and the Millipede (so the Swahili believe) no eyes, 
because the latter, wishing to attend a wedding dance, and 
having in those days no legs, borrowed the Snake’s, who lent 
them, on condition of receiving the Millipede’s eyes during 
his absence; but when the Millipede returned from the dance, 
the Snake refused to restore his eyes, so he has kept the Snake’s 
legs to this day. This reminds one of the exchange of 
feathers between the Fowl and the Parrot, as reported by the 

Stories of this kind, though not uncommon, are com- 
paratively few, when viewed in relation to the vast mass of 
Bantu animal folk-lore. It seems as though the African mind 
took the animals for granted, being more eager to relate their 
adventures than to inquire how they came to be as they are. 

A charming Yao “ Just-So” story *’ is concerned with a 
little brown bird, as to whose scientific identity I have no infor- 
mation. He is called by the natives “ Che Mlanda ” and is 

We are not informed what 

Tn the following chapters an 
the principal tales relating to the 
toise, and the Spider. 

There is a distinct’ type -of tale (that ‘on which 

Ji uSE-SO Stories age to some —— 

: - 
. Pytta * 
& &. twa 7 

(one version has it that his ears bones ae ; 
g them in their delight: at his: 

ry the eux s bright red tail-feathers, amis 
Rabbit he ay of Che Mlanda — 

being given out, he stayed at home, as it was ® 

rhe «tch his for him. The Snake 
3 the Mil (so the Swahili believe) ne: 

: tter, wishing to attend a wedding darice, 

in those days no legs, a rowed the Snake’s, who ! 
dition of ei the Millipede’s eyes. 
ices but when the Mill se returned from the 
-« refused to restore his eyes, 80 he has kepe the 

day. This resins one of ‘the 

-¢ of this -kind, though Het uncommon, at 
saratively few, when viewed in nélgtion to the 


pe ORES Lite 

adventures than to inquire how: 
A caring Yao “ Just-So” 
whose sci 


remarkable for his restless habits — always running up and 
down, cheeping and twittering fussily, as if determined to 
attract attention at all costs. In the beginning, it appears, all 
birds were alike white. They thought this state of things 
very dull and accordingly petitioned Mulungu to make them 
of different colours, like the flowers and insects. Mulungu 
heard their prayer and commanded them all to attend on a 
certain day. The birds gathered in the Jwalo, where Mu- 
lungu sat on his stool, like a Yao chief dispensing justice, with 
his pots of paint at his feet. They ranged themselves in 
concentric semicircles and stood waiting their turns, as he called 
them up one by one, letting each bird hop on his finger and 
then setting him on his knee. He took up his little painting- 
stick, chose his colors, decorated the bird and let him go, call- 
ing up the next. Che Mlanda’s place was some way from 
the end of the row, but he was too impatient to wait till called, 
and behaved like a spoilt child, dancing up and down and 
chirping: “ Me next! paint me next! ” Mulungu at first 
took no notice, beyond bidding him wait, and went on with 
the other birds — the black bishop-finch with his scarlet wings, 
the little jewelled emerald and sapphire king-fisher, the gor- 
geous plantain-eater, blue and green and purple, and the rest. 
But Che Mlanda would not be denied and kept clamoring 
to be taken out of his turn, and at last Mulungu beckoned to 
him, saying: “ Well then, you shall have your way! ” The 
little bird hopped up, full of self-importance, and Mulungu 
dipped his stick in the pot of brown paint, hastily brushed him 
all over with a uniform, dull tint, and dismissed him. So he 
runs up and down, to this day, in his sober coat, among the 
brilliant-plumaged fowls who adorn the African bush. 

This chapter would not be complete without a reference to 
the Mantis, who is a prominent figure in Bushman folk-lore. 
Indeed, he may be called a sort of divinity — whether orig- 
inally a totem, we cannot say, because we know so very little 


about Bushman totemism.* I have not met with any Bantu 
myths concerning this creature; but it is probably everywhere 
the object of various superstitions, which is not strange, con- 
sidering its uncanny appearance and habits. The Northern 
Swahili call it Kukuwazuka, “ fowl of the Ghosts,” “ and the 
Thonga people say that, in old times, it was considered a god, 
or rather an emissary of the ancestor-gods.** ‘ Young shep- 
herds, when they meet with a Mantis, tear out a little hair from 
the skins of their belt and offer it to the insect, saying: ‘ Take, 
Grandfather!’ ” Formerly, “ when one entered a hut, no one 
interfered with it, as it was thought that perhaps some god 
had come to pay a visit to his descendants. These ideas seem 
to be disappearing now, and the offering is but a little 
children’s game.” ‘The Baronga think that the ancestral spirits 
(psikwembo) sometimes take the form of this insect. 

The South African colonists usually call the Mantis the 
“ Hottentot god,” and it is sometimes said that the Hottentots 
used to worship it. Hahn ** confirms the assertion of Peter 
Kolben on this point, adding: “ The Namaquas believe that 
this insect brings luck if it creeps on a person, and one is not 
allowed to kill it.’ But this hardly amounts to worship, and, 
though Thunberg says, “the people here believe that the 
Hottentots offer prayer to it,” the statement is too vague to 
accept unsupported, and Bleek, as we shall see, distinctly con- 
troverts it. 

The Zulus divine by means of the Mantis — disturbing it 
when sitting on a stalk of grass, and then noting the direction 
of its head when it settles again. This is done especially by 
herd-boys trying to discover the whereabouts of strayed 
cattle.** Sometime it is called ** by names meaning “ break the 
pot,” which are explained by saying that if you see one when 
you are carrying a pot, you are sure to drop and break the 

Whatever the ideas underlying the above, it seems clear that 


the Bushmen held the Mantis (Kaggen, Cagn) to be a divine 
or quasi-divine being.“ He was concerned in creation; the 
moon is his old shoe, which he flung up into the sky; ** he makes 
an eland and restores it to life when killed. “ Besides his own 
proper name (Kaggen) he possesses several others, and so also 
does his wife. . . . Their adopted daughter, the Porcupine 
(whose real father is a monster named Khwai-hemm, the All- 
devourer . . .) is married to Kwammang’a and has by him a 
son, the Ichneumon, who plays an important part, particularly 
in advising and assisting his grandfather, the Mantis, and in 
chiding him for his misdeeds. . . . It does not seem that he 
is the object of any worship, or that prayers are addressed to 

This seems to conflict with Mr. Orpen’s account, which con- 
tains the touching prayer versified by Andrew Lang.” Still, it 
is not surprising to find a different development of the idea in 
people inhabiting areas so widely separated as those of the 
respective informants. But, in any case, Kaggen’s character is 
“ondoyant et divers”: sometimes he appears creative and 
beneficent, sometimes as tricky as Hubeane, for instance, when 
he turns himself into a dead hartebeest and frightens out of 
their wits the little girls who, delighted at finding such a prize, 
skin and cut him up with their flint knives." The head com- 
plains of being uncomfortably carried on the back of the child 
who is taking it home, and, when she drops it, calls out: “ Oh! 
oh! my head! Oh! bad little person, hurting me in the head! ” 
Then all the joints reunite and the revived hartebeest assumes 
the shape of a man and chases the girls home. ‘ Have you 
been and cut up the old man, the Mantis,” asks their father, 
“‘ while he lay, pretending to be dead, in front of you? ” 

The Mantis has three children, one of whom, Gaunu- 
Tsachau, was killed by the Baboons and afterwards brought 
to life by his father — a process described at great length, and 
remarkable because the dead child’s eye is treated as a kind of 


germ or seed and kept in water till the whole body has grown 
from it.” | 

Finally, Kaggen and his son-in-law (by all accounts a less 
exemplary character even than himself) are to be seen in the 
rainbow,” Kaggen above and Kwammang’a underneath; and 
the Moon (for which, as we have already seen, he is responsi- 
ble) “ can talk, because he belongs to the Mantis, all of whose 
things talk.” °* 

tl eas 

RATHUA aiic) eh) Bahia See a 
deol np to mshi es 






eG Re ee ae 

ie ae 


Se 5M ELS RAMAN OR wes be ee San ee eee 

gern or ‘weed and kept in water lhe whole dy a grown 

from it. 

Finally, Kaggen and his senladanl (by all accounts a less 

exemplary character even than himself) are to tee seen hd the 

teinbow,' * Kaggen above and Kwammang’a underneath; and 
e Moon (for which, as we have already seen, he i is " 

ble ) can talk, because he belongs to the — “ baal howe 

things talk.” ** 


1. The Story of the Mantis, 
2. Bushman Idea of a Ghost, 


HE HARE, in one part of Africa the favorite hero 

of folklore, is in others held to be distinctly unlucky. 
The Abyssinians will not eat hare’s flesh, neither will the 
Galla, and a hare crossing the path is by them considered the 
worst of omens. The Hottentots, as already stated, connect 
him with the Moon in a myth which relates how his blundering 
brought irreparable disaster on mankind. The Bushmen say 
that the Hare was once a human being, who assumed his pres- 
ent shape when cursed by the Moon for his imbecility. They 
have no objection to eating the Hare, but always carefully 
avoid one particular muscle in the leg which, they think, was 
taken over unchanged from his human form.’ 

Various reasons have been given for the popularity of the 
Hare in general Bantu tradition. Natives have sometimes 
said that his habit of moving his mouth, as if talking to him- 
self, indicates great wisdom. Something must be allowed for 
the sympathy naturally inspired by the cleverness shown by a 
weak and insignificant creature in escaping the pursuit of the 
more powerful and ferocious beasts. And he is undoubtedly 
among the most beautiful and attractive of “small deer.” 

It is sometimes denied that the African native is at all sensi- 
tive to beauty in nature, living or inanimate; but a little first- 
hand research is sufficient to show that this opinion is, at best, 
only partially true: The Pokomo women, for instance, habit- 
ually make songs in praise of various birds — songs which, 
simple as they are, show both observation and sympathy. 

Some of the tricks and adventures attributed elsewhere to 


the Hare are told by the Zulus of Hlakanyana, a quasi-human 
being who, in some respects, resembles our Tom Thumb, or 
perhaps may be looked on as a sort of elf or pixy, though born 
of human parents. It seems reasonable, in this case, to think 
that the animal version of the story is the older one and the 
other a later development *— favoured, no doubt, by the 
story-teller’s inveterate habit of assuming that the animals are 
the same as himself and his audience, or rather, of forgetting 
that any points of difference exist: the Hare and the Hyena 
hire themselves out to hoe a man’s garden; the crow casts lots 
like a diviner; a bird makes a drum and plays on it, and so 
on, ad infinitum. “Uncle Remus ” somewhere explains that 
“ beasts ” were once upon a time just like “ folks ”; the neces- 
sity for such an explanation would never occur to the genuine 

Having mentioned “ Uncle Remus,” we may remark here 
that for many of the “ Brer Rabbit ” stories African originals 
have actually been found, and probably many, if not all, of 
the remainder, can be similarly traced to their sources, though, 
of course, they have all been adapted to American surround- 
ings. Brer Fox and Brer Wolf have replaced the Hyena; 
Brer B’ar is substituted for the Elephant; while the Lion makes 
a few appearances in his own person, though under greatly 
altered circumstances. 

Whether or not Hlakanyana be considered as a development 
of the Hare, the latter has a curious tendency to attract to 
himself imported incidents belonging to other characters. 
This is especially observable in East Africa, where there is a 
certain confusion between the Hare and Abu Nuwéas, the 
Arab jester and hero of many more or less discreditable ad- 
ventures. Thus, when the personality of Abu Nuwas has been 
forgotten, banawasi has become a common noun in Swahili, 
meaning “ a man who always has an answer ready,* who excels 
in repartee.” Indeed, the name —if we may trust a some- 


what perplexing entry in Krapf’s Dictionary, has become 
associated with the Hare, as is also evident from an instructive 
parallel obtained by M. Junod at Lourengo Marques. Here, 
some of the best-known adventures of Abu Nuwéas ° are related 
of one Bonawasi—a name which Junod, influenced by the 
idea that the story is Portuguese, explains as a corruption of 
Bonifacio. One of the characters remarks, in admiration of | 
this man’s cleverness: “ Truly, he is Nwachisisana! ” —the 
usual shivongo (honorary title) of the Hare. 

In South Africa the contact of races has tended to produce 
a certain confusion about the Hare, which, however, is easily 
cleared up. The Basuto attribute one of his best-known ad- 
ventures to the Jackal — “ probably through direct or indirect 
Hottentot influence.” ° Here the Hare appears as one of the 
Jackal’s victims, a fact explained by the Hamitic view. “He 
— he’s not clever,” said Abarea the Galla, “ his cleverness is 
only in running away!” And when I asked why, then, so 
many tales were told about him — as, for instance, of his killing 
the Lion by getting him to swallow a hot stone — the answer 
was, “ Oh! that was not the Hare, it was the Gedal (jackal).” 

Conversely, a story told me by Abarea about the Jackal 
(which will be given later on) is told, by some Masai at least, 
about the Hare.’ ; 

The Basuto call the Hare ?muztla, or, usually in the tales, 
by the affectionate diminutive ’#utlanyana. He is sometimes 
opposed to an animal called A/olo, translated “ rabbit ” in 
Jacottet’s version, and described by Brown as “a small red 
animal like a hare,” but apparently distinct both from the rock- 
rabbit (pela) and the spring-hare (tshipo).* The point is of 
interest, because it seems to mark an attempt at something like 
compromise between the two views. The Bantu, unable to con- 
ceive their beloved Hare in the véle of a dupe and victim, have 
insisted on his retaining his place, and put in some less es- 
teemed congener to be a foil to him. Such might conceivably 


be the genesis of the “ March Hare,” as Madan calls him,” 
who plays the part elsewhere assigned to the Hyena or Brer 
Fox. A tale, “ The Wise and Foolish Hares,” preserved in 
Campbell’s Tvavels,'° may be an indication of the same thing. 
It would appear from the opening that the two hares in ques- 
tion were both of the same species, “‘ accustomed to dwell on 
the mountains in holes dug by themselves.” The wise one 
made several entrances to his burrow, the one who was not so 
wise “ made a passage that went straight in, neither crooked 
nor divided.” Consequently, when some ill-disposed person 
“kindled a fire on the outside in the direction of the wind,” 
the foolish hare was suffocated. When she “ felt the smoke 
and heat entering her cell, she cried out loudly: ‘ Brother, 
brother! come and help me, for I am almost suffocated! ? but 
the other paid no attention to her screams; he only laughed 
and in sport desired her to stand on her head, which, while at- 
tempting to do, she died. On entering the hole afterwards, 
the live hare took the dead one by the ears and called out: 
‘Stand up, my sister, or I shall eat you up’; but he found 
she was dead. After this, the wise hare, that had horns on his 
forehead, began to talk of his wisdom in providing against 
evil; but while he was boasting, a creature came down from the 
heavens and snatched away his horns.” 

They were ultimately restored to him, so he has presumably 
kept them; and the author adds this curious note: “ There is 
an animal, resembling a hare, which has horns about four 
inches long. The scull (sic) and horns of one is in the Mis- 
sionary Museum.” 

This, if not Neotragus, may be some small species of ante- 
lope which has the same reputation as “ Cunnie Rabbit.” There 
may be a further hint of some association or confusion between 
it and the Hare in the fact —if fact it be — that Kalulu, the 
name for “hare ” in Chinyanja and many allied languages, 
is elsewhere the name for some small antelope. 


It is also remarkable that the Hare in this story, after los- 
ing his horns, is persecuted by mysterious unnamed beings 
whose efforts to destroy him — though the methods employed 
are different — recall the adventures of Hubeane and Kalika- 
lanje. It is difficult to resist the suspicion that these heroes, like 
the Algonkin Ioskeha in America, were originally identical with 
the Hare. Perhaps the same might be said of Hlakanyana, 
though the descriptions given by Callaway’s informants rather 
suggest some sort of weasel. Hlakanyana, by the bye, kills the 
Hare and makes a whistle out of his bones — as the Hare is 
elsewhere said to do to other creatures. This may mark a 
stage in the transition from the Bantu to the Hamitic hare. 

In another tale given by Campbell, the Hare appears inci- 
dentally as a rain-maker, which may be a link with the older 
mythological conception hinted at above. 

No one has yet attempted to weave the “ faicts et gestes ” of 
the Hare into a connected whole, as was done by the unnamed 
mediaeval poet, or poets, for Reynard the Fox. But it would 
not be a difficult task and may well be accomplished some day. 
M. Junod points out that the two tales to which he has given 
the common title of “ Roman du Liévre”** have more or 
less of literary coherence, and each leads up to a distinct 
climax; but they include only, a few of even the most typical 

The first begins with a trick played on the Gazelle, the 
Hare inducing her to get into a cooking-pot and boiling her 
to death, as Hlakanyana does the Cannibal’s mother. He then 
makes her horns into a musical instrument,” on which he plays, 
frightening the whole country-side. The Hippopotamus lies 
in wait for him and catches him, but is induced not to betray 
him by. the promise that the Hare will teach him to blow the 
horns. He tries, but without success, and the treacherous Hare 
persuades him to have first one lip and then the other cut off, on 
the pretext that their thickness prevents his blowing properly.”® 


The Hippopotamus, in revenge, swallows the horns and the 
Hare attempts to kill him, but is frustrated by the Dove, who 
repeatedly warns the intended victim, till the Hare shoots and 
destroys her, even to the last feather; he then shoots the 
Hippopotamus, cuts him open and recovers his trumpet. 
While he is washing it in the river, a Civet-cat steals the meat 
which he has left on the ground; he smokes her out of the tree 
in which she has taken refuge, kills her, and sells her skin, 
living for some time on the proceeds. When these are ex- 
hausted, he takes to stealing from people’s gardens, frighten- 
ing the owners away by raising a cry that the enemy are 
coming.’* This trick works for some time, but at last the vil- 
lagers catch him by setting up the image of a woman covered 
with some sticky substance——a Tar Baby, in fact.** They 
determine to kill him, but only succeed in killing their own 
chief, while the Hare escapes. 

The next story opens with an episode which occurs elsewhere 
in other connections, even in European folklore. The Hare, 
frightened (or pretending to be so?) by a sudden noise, runs 
away, communicating the alarm to every one he meets, till 
the whole population of the forest is running.”® - The connec- 
tion between this and the next episode is not very clear: they 
reach a tree, covered with sweet fruit which they eat, leaving, 
at the Hare’s suggestion, one bunch for the use of the chief. 
He steals this fruit himself during the night and contrives to 
put the blame on the Elephant — much as Brer Rabbit brings 
home to the innocent Brer Possum the theft of the butter “— 
and the Elephant is accordingly put to death. But the Hare 
cannot refrain from boasting of his exploit, is pursued, takes 
refuge in a burrow, is caught, but escapes by the device of — 
calling out the equivalent to “ T’un loose dat stump-root en 
ketch holt er me! ”** However, the pursuers stop the opening 
of the burrow and leave him. He makes his way out at last, 
nearly starved, and sets to work to weave a number of baskets. 


He then (by way of disguise) makes himself a wax head- 
ring’ and goes away to peddle his baskets at the Elephant’s 
village. He is detected when the sun melts the wax, but runs 
away, shaves his head, and coming back unrecognised, enters 
into conversation with the village chief and, persuading him 
to take a vapour bath, scalds him to death and makes his skull 
into a drum, which he beats to call the villagers together, him- 
self remaining hidden. He plays at hide and seek with them 
for some time and finally escapes — it is not clearly stated 

But this is not an epic close — it is merely a pause in the 
development of the story. There are endless additional inci- 
dents, some of which may be placed before and some after the 
above, while some, no doubt, are alternative versions. I will 
content myself with recounting some of the most famous, be- 
fore passing on to the tragic climax which so artistically rounds 
off the whole.” : 

At a time of drought, the animals agreed to dig a well, 
being summoned for the purpose by the chief, sometimes — 
but not always — specified as the Lion. The Hare, however, 
refused to take his share in the task and, consequently, was 
not allowed to draw water when the well was finished.” All 
the animals resolved to take turns in watching the well. The 
Hyena took the first watch and, after waiting about three 
hours, heard the voice of the Hare, who strolled along carrying 
two gourds, one empty and one full of honey, soliloquising 
aloud: “I don’t want any water —I don’t care for the water 
of this well. I have sweet water of my own! ” Having raised 
the Hyena’s curiosity, he gratified it by giving him a taste of 
the honey, but, when he asked for more, refused it except on 
condition of his allowing himself to be tied to a tree — alleging 
that, such was the strength of the drink, he would otherwise 
be unable to keep his feet. The Hyena consented and was 
tied up; whereupon the Hare, instead of giving him the honey, 


laughed in his face, took all the water he wanted and went 
his way. When the other animals came back in the morning 
and found the Hyena tied up, he made some attempt to save 
his face by declaring that he had been overpowered by 
numbers, but no one believed him. The Lion undertook the 
next watch, but was similarly beguiled, and the Hare added 
insult to injury by bathing in the well after supplying himself 
with water. Other animals tried their luck (one account 
mentions the Elephant and the Buffalo) with no better result, 
till at last the Tortoise volunteered. He hid under water 
and kept quiet, never answering when the Hare shouted his 
noisy greeting. The latter, after waiting and getting no 
answer, concluded that the animals were now thoroughly 
frightened, and stepped into the water, putting his foot on 
what he took for a stone but which was in fact the Tortoise. 
When he stooped to dip out the water, the Tortoise caught his 
“ hand,” then, in spite of his struggles, the other; then both 
feet, and so held him till the animals came up. They carried 
him before the chief and began to discuss the manner of his 
death, when he spoke up, and — less subtle than Brer Rabbit 
— suggested that the way to kill him was to tie him up with 
banana-leaves and throw him down in the sun. This was done, 
and he lay quiet, till — the sun being high — the banana-leaves 
dried up and began to crack. Some of the animals heard it and 
reported to the chief: “ The Hare will break loose! ” The 
Hare heard and groaned languidly: “ Leave me alone — 1 am 
just about to die! ” In a little while, he felt that the drying 
process had gone far enough, stretched himself vigorously and, 
as his bonds fell off, sprang away too quickly for any one to 
catch him. 

In some versions the tale ends here: others carry it further 
and relate how the Hare, pursued by the other animals, crept 
into a hole in an ant-heap. The Elephant put in his trunk 
and seized him, but let him go again (all the animals in their 

ae aaeee 



pasta Subba i 

ee ee 



1. Bwana Ahmadi, a Swahili of Mambrui, whose 
grandfather was miraculously cured of his blindness. 
(See page 349.) 

2. A group of Akamba in Rabai market-place. 
The woman on the right is wearing a quantity of 
the fine copper chains alluded to in the text. (See 
page 300.) 

After photographs by Prof. A. Werner. 


native wilds seem singularly credulous) when informed that 
he had got hold of a root. The animals left the Crow to watch 
the hole, while they went to fetch fire. As soon as they were 
gone, the Hare called out to the Crow: “ Would you like 
some white ants? ” 

“Yes, give me some! ” said the Crow. 

“Open your eyes as wide as you can, so that you can see 
them! ” and the Hare scratched up some earth and threw it 
into the Crow’s eyes, taking advantage of his predicament 
to escape.”* 

Some time after this, he made friends with the Hyena, and 
they agreed to go on a journey together. On the way, they 
stopped to set a trap in the bush, and caught a guinea-fowl. 
The Hare left the Hyena to roast it, while he lay down to 
sleep. The Hyena, unable to resist the savoury smell of the 
roast, devoured it as soon as it was done; he then put the 
feathers and legs into the fire and lay down, pretending to be 
asleep. The Hare was awakened by the smell of burning 
and called the Hyena, asking what had become of the guinea- 
fowl. The Hyena ruefully confessed that he had gone to sleep 
and let it burn. The Hare did not believe him, but said 

A little later, the Hare proposed that they should both 
Visit his parents and the Hyena agreed. But the Hare led the 
way to a strange village and left his companion behind in the 
banana-gardens outside it, telling him to take as many bananas 
as he wanted, while he (the Hare) went to announce their 
arrival. As soon as he reached the village, he told the people 
that there was a thief among the banana-trees, and made off. 
The villagers rushed out, caught the Hyena, tied him and 
beat him soundly. When they had left him, the treacherous 
Hare appeared on the scene, showed his great surprise and 
distress and condoled with his friend as he released him. 

They then went on their way and in a little while arrived 


at a village where a dance was going on. The Hyena 
retired apart, bathed and adorned himself, wearing on his head 
an egg-shell into which he had stuck some feathers saved from 
the guinea-fowl. He then danced, while the Hare sat and 
looked on, and presently began to sing a riddling ditty: 

“The whole guinea-fowl was scorched up in the fire, ti! ti! ui!” 

The Hare, guessing the sense of the words, took a drum 
and began to beat it singing: 

“‘T got him tied up with banana-leaves and beaten, pu! gu! pu! ” 4 

This quarrel appears to have been made up, for a little later, 
we find the two, in time of famine, making a bargain to kill and 
eat their respective mothers. The Hyena carried out his part of 
the contract, and the two feasted on the meat thus provided; but 
the Hare hid his mother and, when the time came to produce 
her, declared that she had been killed by a lion. The Hyena 
believed him at first, but, finding that he went away secretly 
every day and would give no account of his movements, fol- 
lowed him, discovered the mother hidden in a cave, gained 
admittance by a trick, killed and ate her.” 

The Hare said nothing at the time, but “ went away and 
grieved by himself,” nursing thoughts of revenge. After a 
certain interval, he appeared at the Hyena’s abode “ very 
fine — just like a Kamba,” i.e., adorned with bright brass 
and copper chains, armlets and anklets, such as the Akamba 
make and wear. The Hyena was overwhelmed with admi- 
ration and envy. “Do you know how I got all these fine 
things? ” asked the Hare. “I had a nail made red hot and 
driven into the top of my head.” The Hyena did not stop to 
inquire into the logic of the process, but was quite willing to 
undergo the operation. So the Hare heated a nail and paid off 
old scores, killing the Hyena outright.” 


On another occasion, the Hare made friends with the Lion, 
at a time when the latter was weak and low after a run of bad 
luck in hunting. He proposed a-scheme for providing him 
with food and helped him to build a large house, with a 
baraza (verandah or porch). Inside, he dug a hole and, hav- 
ing induced the Lion to lie down in it, covered him up with 
sand, so that nothing showed above ground but one of his 
teeth. Then he beat his drum and called all the animals to 
a dance. The Rhinoceros came up to him and asked him to 
start the tune; and, accordingly, he began to sing: 

“* All you elephants, all you wild boars, 
You shall dance in the inner house! 
All you buffaloes, you shall dance in the inner house! 
All you hippos, you shall dance in the inner house! ” 

After the animals had entered and shown some alarm on 
perceiving the Lion’s tooth projecting from the ground: 

“This is only the tooth of a dead camel — 
Tooth, tooth, tooth, tooth of a camel! — 
I and the Civet-cat, we will dance in the outer house! 
Tooth! tooth! tooth! tooth! of a camel! ” 

The animals took up the refrain and shouted in chorus: 
“ Hidyo ni gego, gego, gego, gego dya ngamia! ” 

And, while the fun waxed fast and furious, the treacherous 
Hare and the Civet-cat barred the door on the outside and 
ran away. When the singing was at its height, the Lion sud- 
denly leapt from the ground and began to lay about him. 
Not one escaped, and the Lion had a full supply of meat. 
Then the Hare came back and opened the door. But the Lion 
was ungrateful and consumed the meat by himself, and the 
Hare soon grew tired of providing for him. So one day he 
heated a stone in the fire, wrapped it up in the kidney-fat of 


the animal just killed, and called on the Lion to open his mouth 
for the reception of a specially dainty morsel. The Lion swal- 
lowed it, and that was the end of him. 

This is told by Hottentots of the Jackal *’; the Basuto, in a 
similar story about the Hare, describe a different trick: he 
gets the Lion to help him to thatch a house and fastens his 
tail into the thatch, leaving him on the roof to perish, as 
Hlakanyana does the Cannibal. 

In some versions, having killed the Lion, he uses his skin 
to play tricks on the Hyena. This need create no difficulty in 
view of the latter’s death as already narrated — we are at 
liberty to arrange the chronology of the incidents as we please, 
or to suppose that the one just mentioned concerns a different 

And now, passing over other adventures too numerous to 
specify, we come to the last tragedy which proves that — as 
the Giryama story-teller puts it“ Harey (Katsungula) 
was clever, but he met with his match at last.” ** 

The Cock and the Hare became very friendly and fre- 
quently visited one another. But the Hare, finding it advis- 
able to conceal his whereabouts from his enemies, built himself 
a great many houses, omitting to tell his friend in which of 
them he was to be found. Consequently, one day when the 
Cock came to see him, he was put to a good deal of trouble 
in finding him, and took offence, though he refrained from 
expressing his annoyance and only said: “ To be sure it was a 
very clever device, such as no one else is in possession of! ”— 
and they “conversed and ate their meal,” till at sunset the 
Cock took his departure, after arranging that the Hare was 
to return the visit “ the day after to-morrow, when the cattle 
go to graze.” 

The Cock went home, nursing his grievance, and, when the 
appointed day came, he said to his wives: “That friend of mine 
went and put me to trouble by a device of building many 


houses, and so I too have thought of a trick to play on him 
to-day, in order that he too may come to wait about.” So he 
gave them full instructions, and sent scouts to watch for the 
Hare’s approach. As soon as he was reported coming, 
the Cock tucked his head under his wing and went to sleep. 
When the visitor arrived, the women told him that his friend 
had gone out to the pasture with the herd-boys and would 
return with them in the evening. On his expressing his aston- 
ishment at such inhospitable behaviour, they explained that 
he had not really gone away altogether —he had sent his 
head away with the herd-boys, while his body remained in the 
house; and in proof of this they showed him the apparently 
headless form of the Cock. The Hare was greatly impressed 
and asked the women to “ wake him that we may come and 
have a talk,” but was given to understand that he must wait 
till afternoon. At last, when the herd-boys came home, their 
mother said to them: “ Just rouse your father there where he 
is sleeping.” So they roused him, “and he woke with a start, 
saying: ‘ Ah! so then, my friend, you have come?’” And the 
Hare rejoined, reproachfully: “I have been come a long 
time.” However, the Cock succeeded in placating him, and 
they dined together, chatting as usual, till, when about to leave, 
the Hare, unable any longer to repress his curiosity, inquired 
about the “device.” The Cock replied: “ Now, my dear 
friend, is it so very much of a device? If you think you would 
like to do it, it is done merely by those herd-boys of yours 
cutting off your head, so that they may go with it to pasture, 
and then, when they see you have come home, for them to hit 
you, and you will awake! ” 

The Hare hastened home full of excitement, and related 
the wonder to his wife and next morning told his boys to cut 
off his head and take it with them when they went out with 
the cattle. They demurred at first but, on his insisting, said: 
“Well, we know your cleverness! ” and gave in. So, when 


the time came for them to go out, they said: “ Now then, we 
are ready. Come, Sir, and let us cut the head off, as you said,” 
and he went outside and they cut off his head, piercing the ears 
to run a string through for carrying it. And when he was 
quite dead, the women picked up the body and laid it on his 
own bedstead. The Cock was not long in coming round to 
see how his suggestion had borne fruit, and, of course, when 
shown the body, jeered at his friend’s credulity, but said he 
would wait till the boys came home and see what happened. 

“ And on arriving they asked: ‘ But where is father? ? And 
their mother said to them: ‘ Is not that he, yonder on his bed? ” 
And they went up to him and struck him, but he did not get up 
and they struck him again—he did not get up! And the 
children burst out crying. And the mothers of the family 
cried. And folks sat a-mourning. And all the people that 
heard of it were amazed at his death: Such a clever man! who 
built so many houses, you know — and for him to have met 
with his death through such a trifling thing! Well, who will 
get his property? Let that friend of his inherit it. Yes, he is 
the clever one! ? And the Cock took the property left by 
his friend.” 

We may share the surprise of the mourners that one so 
acute should so easily have been taken in — but there is a touch 
of shrewd observation here. We are familiar with the fact — 
however psychologists may explain it — of some inexplicable 
oversight, some momentary lapse of perception or memory, 
wrecking the carefully thought-out plans of a powerful 

As already mentioned, the story of the Lion and the hot 
stone is given by the Hottentots to the Jackal; so is that of the 
well — the Basuto, apparently, having adopted that form of 
the tale, though in some other cases they have retained the 
adventures as the Hare’s. Another well-known jackal story 
I will give as obtained from a Galla informant, premising 


that it shows the Lion in a much more favourable light than 
do the Hare stories and thus makes his treatment by the Jackal 
quite inexcusable.” 

The Jackal (gedal) sat by himself out in the Bush, crying. 
The Lion passed by and asked him what was the matter. 
“My father and mother are dead, and I am here all alone, 
with no one to take care of me.” The Lion said: “ Don’t 
cry, I will look after you,” and took him along to his village, 
where he set him to herd his cattle. One day the Lion killed 
a bullock and said he would go to herd, directing the Jackal 
to stay at home and cook the beef for him. The latter did so, 
but at the same time put a stone into the fire and, when it was 
red-hot, wrapped round it a very fat piece of meat. When 
the Lion came home hungry, Gedal told him to open his 
mouth as wide as he could and threw the stone down his throat. 

The narrator here described very graphically how the fat 
sizzled on its passage down and how, “ his bowels being cut 
through,” the unfortunate Lion died. (This climax was ex- 
pressed by putting both hands under his left cheek and droop- 
ing his head over them.) 

Soon after, the Hyena, attracted by the smell of the roast- 
ing meat, came up and asked for a share. Gedal gave him 
some bones, telling him to make no noise, as the Lion was 
asleep; then he sat down between the Hyena and the dead 
Lion and —as if he had nothing better to do — asked the 
former to let him play with his tail. The Hyena, busy with 
the bones, made no objection, and never noticed that Gedal 
was tying his tail to the Lion’s. Presently he shouted a 
caution: “ Look out! the Lion is awake! ” —and the Hyena 
started at a run, dragging the dead Lion after him, reached his 
burrow and crawled in. The carcase, of course, blocked the 
entrance, and the Hyena waited, not daring —and indeed 
unable — to move, till, in the course of nature, the truth 
became evident, and the Lion’s tail came away when he pulled 


at it. Then, after a time, he made his way out. Meanwhile 
Gedal, having finished up the beef, and being again in want 
of an easy subsistence, tried the same trick a second time, and 
sat in the bush weeping and waiting for some charitable 
stranger to pass. This time it was the Elephant, laden with 
a bag of honey, who listened compassionately to his story and 
— when Gedal added, as a final touch, that “ Father always 
used to carry me on his back ” — said: “ All right, up with 
you! ” While enjoying his ride, Gedal fell to eating the 
honey from the Elephant’s bag. The latter, feeling the drops 
which he let fall from time to time, asked if it was raining, 
and the disconsolate orphan replied that the drops were his 
tears, which he could not keep back, whenever he thought of 
his mother. Having finished the honey he next remarked 
that his father, when he took him for a ride, was always con- 
siderate enough to pass under the trees, so that he could pick 
fruit without dismounting. The good-natured Elephant, 
seeing a fruit-tree with conveniently overhanging boughs, 
walked under it, and Gedal sprang into the branches and took 
himself off. We do not press the question of his arboreal 
habits too closely. ‘ When the Elephant got home, his wife 
took down the bag and found it empty.” The domestic sequel 
is left to the imagination. 

As already remarked, the Jackal is the favourite hero of 
the Hottentot stories. Schultze has summed up his character- 
istics in the following passage:*° “The Jackal’s cunning is 
most conspicuously successful where it is combined with per- 
sonal courage, or cleverly takes advantage of his adversary’s 
cowardice — as here in the case of the hated Leopard or the 
more harmless Baboon. Where the adversary is both stupid 
and greedy —as in the adventure of the Jackal with the 
Boer, the sly. rascal makes good his escape at the last moment. 
Where his opponents show irresolution, or ill-judged leniency 
(like the missionary who, in a tale of recent origin, employs 

1. The Nyanga, an elder of the Bushongo (Ban- 

gongo tribe) presiding over the initiation ceremony. 
2. House in which a death has occurred, which is 
abandoned and left to decay (Babunda). 
After photographs by E. ‘Torday. 


him about the farm and is wofully cheated), his most serious 
offences are allowed to go unpunished. Yet the old rogue 
sometimes comes in for a good beating . . . for instance, 
when he behaves with excessive arrogance towards the Fla- 
mingo family. When persecuted by powerful enemies and 
defeating them by his own ready wit, he enjoys the Hottentot’s 
unlimited sympathy — still more so, when he avenges the 
wrongs he has himself suffered; but most of all, when he 
appears as avenger and benefactor of the weak in general.” 

There is a curious story “ which represents the Jackal as 
falling in love with the Sun (here, of course, feminine) and 
trying to carry her off on his back, with the result that his 
fur got burnt and remains black to this day (this of course, is 
the South African variety known as the black-backed jackal). 
Other versions *’ represent the Sun as a baby, apparently for- 
saken by the wayside, which the Jackal picks up and carries 
off. ‘ When it burnt him, he said: ‘Get down,’ and shook 
himself, but the Sun stuck fast to his back.” 

We all remember the delightful episode in Uncle Remus, 
when Brer Rabbit presents Brer Fox in the character of “ my 
fambly ridin’ hoss.” This appears to be a genuine jackal- 
story, perhaps because the peoples who have made the Hare 
their hero do not ride, or have only learnt to do so recently.* 
The Hyena is the victim. Both were invited to a wedding, 
but the Jackal pretended he was too ill to walk and so induced 
the Hyena, not only to take him on his back, but to provide 
him with saddle, bridle, and spurs, on the plea that he would 
be unable to keep his seat without them.” 

We cannot conclude this chapter without a reference to the 
remarkable parallels contained in the Indian story of Mahdeo 
and the Jackal. The Jackal gets himself himself carried 
on the Elephant’s back; he is caught by Mahdeo (who hides 
under water and seizes him by the leg), and calls out that 
Mahdeo is holding the root of a tree. Mahdeo then catches 


him by means of a Tar-baby figure and ties him up, but he 
escapes by a trick, inducing another jackal to take his place, 
and Mahdeo is so delighted with his cleverness that he makes 
him his watchman. 

I do not think it is necessary to suppose that all the Hare 
and Jackal stories migrated from Africa to India; indeed, it 
seems to me that an independent origin is indicated for the 
Tar-baby, to take only one instance; but I should prefer to 
abstain from theorising, alt the materials have been more 
fully studied. 


N THE few occasions — apart from the last disastrous 
encounter with the Cock— when the Hare does not 
come off victorious, it is the Tortoise who circumvents him. 
We have seen how this happened in the story of the Animals 
and the well,’ and it is scarcely necessary to mention the two 
most famous exploits of “ Brer Terrapin ” °— of which the 
African versions will be given presently. 

It is not difficult to see why the Tortoise should have gained 
the reputation he bears in African and other folklore. His 
ability to exist for a long time without food, the difficulty of 
killing him, the ease with which he conceals himself, together 
with his slow movements and uncanny appearance all combine 
to suggest infinite watchfulness, patience, endurance, and wis- 
dom, a grim sense of humour, and magical or preternatural 
powers of some sort. I say advisedly wisdom, rather than 
cunning, because, though in some cases the Tortoise’s intellect 
serves the purposes of malice and vindictiveness, in others we 
find him applying it to harmless fun or actual beneficence. 

It is to be noticed that the Tortoise appears in all three 
divisions of African folklore —i.e., side by side with the 
Hare (or the antelope which sometimes takes his place), the 
Jackal, and the Spider. Sometimes the land-tortoise, some- 
times the turtle, or one of the fresh-water species, appears to 
be meant — no doubt according to locality. One or the other, 
at least, is found in every part of Africa. 

The Baronga do not take much notice of the Tortoise in 
their folk-tales; its place is taken by the strange little batra- 


chian called by them chinana and by zodlogists Breviceps 

In Sierra Leone,* we find the Turtle (“ Trorkey ”) making 
a riding-horse of the Leopard —a feat ascribed in the West 
Indies to Anansi. Here the Turtle, by a refinement of astute- 
ness, induces the Leopard to offer the ride and even press 
him to let himself be carried. However, when he finds him- 
self tricked, he has his revenge, ties Trorkey to “ one big 
tick,” and beats him so severely that the marks show on his 
shell to this day. This is an ending I have not met with else- 
where — though there are other stories accounting for the 
conformation of the Tortoise’s shell by relating how he got it 
broken to pieces and mended again. 

The famous race story as told in Aesop is probably a 
moralisation of comparatively. recent date. The primitive 
tale, which seems to be so universally diffused as to create a 
presumption that it originated independently, is both less edi- 
fying and more amusing. The Akamba° say that the contest 
took place between the Tortoise (Ngw) and the Fish-eagle 
(Haliaetus vocifer) called by these people Kipalala and by the 
Swahili Furukombe or Chalikoko. Both creatures had asked 
for a Kamba girl in marriage, and had been told by her father 
that the condition of winning her was “ to start at daybreak 
for the coast and return before nightfall with some sea-salt.” 

The Eagle was quite willing; the Tortoise showed some 
reluctance, but consented to compete if the race were put off 
for ten months, to which the Eagle agreed. ‘“ Next day, un- 
known to the Eagle, he started for the coast to fetch some 
salt; it took him nearly five months to go and five to return, 
and he hid the salt in his house. Now during his journey to 
the coast he arranged with all the tortoises he met on the way 
to station themselves at intervals along the route between 
Ukamba and the coast, one at each of the various camps, 
streams and water-holes, and he told them all to look out for 


the Eagle as he flew past . . . and, when he called out: 
‘ Tortoise, are you there? ” each one was to reply in turn, ‘I am 
here.” On the appointed day the Eagle started off on his 
flight to the sea; at intervals he called out: ‘ Ngu iko?? and at 
various points en route he received the prearranged reply. He 
was much surprised to find the Tortoise getting on so quickly, 
and still more so when he reached the shore and found a 
Tortoise there in the act of collecting some salt. He, however, 
quickly picked up his own salt and flew back at full speed, 
and not knowing that the Tortoise which he had left on the 
beach was not his competitor, felt confident that he had won. 
About four o’clock in the afternoon the original Tortoise, who 
was on the look-out, saw the Eagle like a speck in the distance, 
so he emerged from where he had hidden throughout the day 
and waddled up the road to the village, announced his return 
from the coast and handed the packet of salt to the girl’s 

The Eagle, when he arrived and found that he had been 
outwitted “ was very. angry and flew off in a great temper.” 
The Mukamba said to the Tortoise: “ It is true that you have 
won, but if I give you my daughter, where will you live in 
safety? for the Eagle is so angry that he is sure to find you 
out and kill you.” The Tortoise answered: “Oh! that is 
all right, do not be anxious for my safety. My home will 
in future be in the water, and the Eagle will never get me.” 

We have no information as to the various species of Tortoise 
to be found in Ukamba; but this suggests that at least one 
of them lives in fresh water, or is amphibious.° 

There is a curious little Hottentot story. recorded by Krén- 
lein’ which seems to be based on the same idea as the above, 
though the race motive is absent. 

“One day, it is said, the Tortoises held a council how they 
might hunt Ostriches, and they said: ‘ Let us, on both sides, 
stand in rows near each other, and let one go to hunt the 


Ostriches, so that they must flee along through the midst of 
us.” They did so, and as they were many, the Ostriches were 
obliged to run through the midst of them. During this they 
did not move, but remaining always in the same places, called 
each to the other: ‘ Are you there? ? and each one answered: 
‘I am here.’ The Ostriches, hearing this, ran so tremendously 
that they quite exhausted their strength and fell down. Then 
the Tortoises assembled by and by at the place where the 
Ostriches had fallen, and devoured them.” 

This does not seem very clear, but no doubt means that the 
Ostriches thought the pursuers were at their heels all the time 
instead of being—as in fact they were —stationary, and 
so rushed on madly to their destruction. An ostrich, as is 
well known, cannot see distinctly what is close to him. 

Another Tortoise story, printed by Bleek * from a MS. of 
Rath’s (the original is in Herero), represents the Tortoise 
as placed by the Elephant in charge of a pool of water, 
while he went off to hunt. The Elephant had previously 
quarrelled with the Rain, which consequently left the country; 
he then asked the Vulture to work a rain-charm, but the 
latter refused. ‘The Crow, however, consented, and rain fell 
“at the lagoons, but they dried up, and only one lagoon 
remained.” During the Elephant’s absence, the Giraffe, the 
Zebra, the Gemsbok and several other animals came and 
demanded water, but the Tortoise refused them all, saying: 
“The water belongs to the Elephant.” Last of all came the 
Lion, who, without waiting for an answer to his request, seized 
the Tortoise and beat him and drank of the water. “ Since 
then the animals drink water”? — as though it had not been 
their custom before. ‘ When the Elephant came back from 
the hunting, he said: ‘ Little Tortoise, is there water?’ The 
Tortoise answered: ‘ The animals have drunk the water.’ The 
Elephant then asked: ‘ Little Tortoise, shall I chew you or 
swallow you down?’ The little Tortoise said: ‘ Swallow me, 


if you please’; and the Elephant swallowed it whole. After 
the Elephant had swallowed the little Tortoise and it had 
entered his body, it tore off his liver, heart and kidneys. The 
Elephant said: ‘ Little Tortoise, you kill me!’ So the Ele- 
phant died; but the little Tortoise came out of his dead body, 
and went wherever it liked.” 

I have given this latter part at length because of its possible 
bearing on a curious unexplained point in the Swahili story 
which describes the animals as “ singing ” in order to obtain 
water.” There it is said that, after the rest had been unsuccess- 
ful, “the Tortoise appeared, and the Elephant saw him and 
caught him and put him into his mouth, and he came out at 
his nose, and his (the Elephant’s) companions said to him: 
‘Let him go, perhaps he will get water.”? And they let him go. 
And he went and sang and got much water.” 

This looks as though the well-known story related in our 
last chapter had got mixed up with some rain-making legend 
like the one given above, and one may conjecture that the 
Tortoise proved his magical powers by coming out unharmed 
in the way described.”® 

Another point to notice is the eating of the Elephant from 
inside, which we have already seen in “ Unana-bosele.” In 
a Mandingo tale,” the Hyena having discovered a way to 
introduce himself into the Elephant’s internal economy, feeds 
on him and grows fat, but is always careful to avoid touching 
the heart. The Hare, having got the secret out of “ Uncle 
Hyena,” accompanies him and, paying no heed to his 
directions, seizes on the heart and kills the Elephant. When 
the chief’s servants come to cut up the carcase, the Hare hides 
in the gall-bladder, which is at once thrown into the bushes, 
and so he escapes, while the Hyena is killed. 

The Mpongwe Tortoise and Leopard* act in a similar 
manner towards the Giant Goat, who, however, is good- 
natured enough to permit this parasitism, so long as the limits 


are observed, and the incident also figures among Anansi 
stories."* It seems possible that it may have originated in the 
idea — common and quite natural among primitive people — 
that some animal is the cause of internal pains not otherwise 
accounted for. 

The famous “ Tug-of-War ”— usually between the Ele- 
phant and the Hippopotamus — is found in various parts of 
Africa. In the American version, it will be remembered, 
Brer Tarrypin ties the rope to a stump under water, after 
giving the other end to Brer B’ar. This is probably owing 
to the difficulty of finding in the New World two equally 
matched competitors.”* 

The tale as told by the Mpongwe (Gabun) is as follows: * 
The Tortoise, having worsted the Leopard in several en- 
counters and finally caused his death, began to consider him- 
self equal to the Elephant and to the Hippopotamus and to 
say: “ We three who are left are of equal power; we eat at 
the same table and have the same authority.” The people 
who heard this and similar speeches went and reported them 
to the animals mentioned, who only laughed and said that they 
could afford to despise him. 

One day, these two met in the forest, and the Hippo asked 
the Elephant if he had heard of the Tortoise’s boasts. The 
Elephant replied: “ Yes, I have heard. But I look upon it 
with contempt. For I am Njagu. I am big. My foot is as 
big as Ekaga’s body. And he says he is equal to me! But I 
have not spoken of the matter, and I will not speak, unless I 
hear Ekaga himself make his boast. And then I shall know 
what I will do.” The Hippopotamus agreed to do likewise. 

When the Tortoise heard of their threats, he set out to look 
for the Elephant and, when he found him, addressed him 
familiarly as “ Mwera”— about equivalent to “ Mate! ” 
The Elephant, in great indignation asked: “ Whom do you 
call Mwera? ” and the other coolly replied: “ You,” and pro- 



gli oft 30 sone] oc 
sqowd ni) tedo oiT 
+(e ae .sT3N99 soit 

qsbioT a w atiqergotordq tt A 

itis  cetealinn and quite: satura 
that some animal is the cause of 
accounted for. 

The famous “ Tug-of War = 
phant and the Hippopotamus — is found in ve 
Africa. In the American version, it will be remembe 
Brer Tarrypin ties the rope to a stump under water; 
the others d to Brer Bar. This is probable == 
he difficulty re finding in the New Worid two-#e. 

tale as told by the Mpongwe (Gabun} : 
rtoise, having Pexte the gerard in seh 
d his death, began to cortat , 

The chief (a B 
the centre. the same authority.” The = 

After slioeberiahe dpe E. Torday, .._ a 

|, who only laughed and said 
in the forest, and the Hisses: a=: 
he had heard of the Tortoise’s tease 
I have heard. - But I ieck geese: 
rlam Njagu. lam big. My foc s 
body.. And he says he is equal to mic’ 
of the matter, and I will net speak, - 
ir Eka iself make his boast. Amd then i sta: 
what I will do.” The Hippopotamus agreed te 
When the Tortoise heard of metic ~ ing a 3S 

ie Elephant and,-when he fo aes) 
basil iarly as “ Mwera”— about 
The Elephant, in great ind: O 
call Mwera? ” and the other 


ceeded to assert his claim of equality and suggested that they 
. should test it by a tug of war on the following day. To this 
the Elephant unwillingly consented. It was agreed that “ if 
one overpulls the other, he shall be considered the greater, 
but if neither, then they were Mwera.” 

The Tortoise then cut a long creeper in the forest — such 
as in West Africa is called a “ bush-rope ” — and, handing 
one end to the Elephant, went into the forest with the other, 
telling him to begin pulling when he should give the signal 
next day. He then went to find the Hippopotamus and, after 
challenging him in like manner, and getting him to agree to 
the contest, gave him the other end of the rope, saying, “ To- 
morrow when you feel the vine shaken, know that I am ready 
at the other end, and then you begin, and we will not stop to 
eat or sleep until this test is ended.” 

Each of the competitors — not very consistently, considering 
the confidence they had previously expressed — went into the 
forest “to gather leaves of medicine with which to strengthen 
his body.” Next morning, the Tortoise went to a spot half- 
way between the two, where he had made a mark on the 
ground, and shook the creeper, first towards one end and then 
towards the other. The two then pulled with all their might, 
and the Tortoise laughed as he sat and watched them. When 
he felt hungry, he went off and ate. his fill of mushrooms, 
after which he returned home for a sleep, awoke late in the 
afternoon and went back to the forest to see how the contest 
was going. He found the rope stretched quite taut, and 
though, from time to time, it was pulled a little way in one 
direction or the other, yet this was soon neutralised by a pull 
from the opposite side, and neither gained any advantage. 

At last the Tortoise, growing tired, nicked the creeper with 
his knife, whereon it parted and each of the combatants fell 
violently to the ground, the Elephant bruising his leg badly 
and the Hippopotamus his head. The Tortoise visited each 


of them in turn, and in each case was acknowledged as an 
equal. ‘ After that, whenever they three and others met to 
talk in palaver, the three sat together on the highest seats.” 

The Tortoise also figures in a tale of a somewhat unusual 
kind, occurring in widely separated regions. The examples 
hitherto collected are not numerous, and of the five which I 
have noted, one has the Hare and another Hlakanyana in 
place of the Tortoise. But there is a surprising agreement 
between two forms collected at opposite ends of the Bantu 
area — one from the Basuto, the other from the Benga of the 

Jacottet *° thinks it may be a remnant of some ancient re- 
ligious tradition, which is probably indigenous. It centres 
about a tree whose fruit cannot be eaten without the permission 
of the owner and then only by those who know its name. 
(This is not expressly stated in any of the versions before me, 
but the importance attached to the knowledge seems to imply 
something of the kind.) *’ Messengers are sent to the owner 
of the tree, who in each case gives the required information, 
but every one forgets it on the way back — usually in conse- 
quence of some accident — till at last the Tortoise (or, in one 
case, the Hare) is more successful. In some instances, the 
successful animal takes an unfair advantage of the others and 
robs them of the fruit, throwing the blame on some innocent 
party, and this is sometimes found in connection with other 
incidents and without the episode of the name, as for instance, 
in the story of the Hare already referred to,* where it follows 
on the panic of the animals caused by the dropping of a fruit. 

In two cases the owner of the tree is expressly stated to be 
God (Leza, Maweza). In another, it is said that he, or more 
probably she, for the word means “ grandmother,” was named 
Koko. Elsewhere it is said to belong to “the chief of the 
animals,” and in the Ronga variant a woman, unnamed and 
otherwise unaccounted for, appears to be in charge of it. One 


more point should be noted: the name of the tree is some- 
times said to be quite meaningless,”® or else the narrator is 
unable to explain it. Perhaps it is an archaic word whose 
meaning has been lost, and it is possible that its original form 
had some forgotten mythological significance. 

Dr. Nassau collected a very interesting version of this tale 
from the members of the Benga tribe at Batanga in the Cam- 
eroons. It runs somewhat as follows: 

In old times all beasts lived together in one part of the 
country, with the exception of the Python, Mbama, who 
dwelt by himself in a place about thirty miles away from the 
rest. In that country grew a fruit-bearing tree called Bojabi, 
but none of the beasts knew its name, nor whether its fruit 
could be eaten. Then came a year of famine, when, searching 
everywhere for food, they noticed this tree, but no one dared 
to touch the fruit, as they did not know whether it was fit for 
food. At last they decided to send and consult Mbama. 
They chose the Rat as their messenger, telling him that he must 
go by sea and not along the beach (this to prevent his loitering 
by the way) and carry with him one of the fruits in order to 
make certain of the identification. He accomplished the trip 
safely, appeared before Mbama, and heard from him that the 
tree was called Bojabi and its fruit was edible. Next morning 
he started homeward, paddled energetically, and arrived in the 
afternoon, but the operation of beaching his canoe so absorbed 
his intellectual faculties that by no effort of memory could 
he recall the name. He had to confess his failure and was 
soundly beaten by the disappointed animals, who next dis- 
patched the Porcupine. He too succeeded in his errand, but 
forgot the name just as he was entering the village on his 
return. Then the Antelope went, and he too learnt the name; 
but just as he was about to land, a wave upset his canoe, and 
the name went clean out of his head. One after another, all 
the beasts tried and failed, with the exception of Kudu, the 


Tortoise. He at last volunteered but the rest jeered at him 
for his presumption and even began to beat him. But the 
Gazelle interposed saying: “ Let him go on his errand. We 
all have failed, and it is well that he should fail too! ” 

But the Tortoise wisely went to consult his mother before 
setting out. She warned him neither to eat nor drink while 
on the sea, or, in fact, before reaching his destination. “ It was 
through neglecting this precaution that the others forgot the 
name.” The Tortoise attended to her instructions, reached 
Mbama, received his message, and next day started on the 
return journey. To keep the name in mind, he sang, as he 


“ Elephant! eat the Bojabi fruit! Straight! straight! straight! 

Buffalo! eat the Bojabi fruit! Straight! straight! straight! 
Bojabi! ” 

And so on, varying the song by beginning each line with the 
name of a different animal. In this way he nerved himself 
to keep straight on. 

He had gone some distance when his canoe was capsized 
by a large wave, but he clung to it and was carried ashore, 
still repeating: “ Bojabi! Bojabi! ” The canoe was some- 
what damaged, and he had to repair it, but kept on singing his 
song, and once more started on his journey. Just as he was 
approaching the landing-place where all the beasts were gath- 
ered to await his coming, a great wave caught the canoe, and 
his friends ran into the surf, seized it and him and carried them 
in triumph up the beach, he still shouting: “ Bojabi! ” But 
they did not understand what he meant, and, when they 
begged him to tell the name of the tree, he said he would 
only do so when they had reached the town. They carried him 
up, and he then made the further stipulation that, before he 
delivered the message, he should be allowed to carry his share 


of the fruit into the house. This he did and then revealed 
the name, after which there was such a rush to gather the fruit 
as to justify the Tortoise’s foresight in making provision for 
his mother, whose advice had brought him success.*° 

A Tortoise story collected in Nyasaland (1894) * exhibits 
the hero in anything but an amiable light: he has been robbed 
by the Iguana and is as vindictive and relentless as Shylock 
in exacting his pound of flesh — quite literally, for the unfor- 
tunate Iguana is cut in two, and the creditor carries off the 
tail and two hind legs rejoicing. I prefer to give a pleasanter 
episode, related to me by a stray Kavirondo ** — not, I fear, a 
model character — who had somehow or other found his way 
to the Mission at Ngao and was supposed to be working about 
the place, but preferred telling me tales and helping me to 
shepherd my own tortoise —a pet whose sad history can- 
not be related here. 

A Lion had assumed the shape of a man and came to court 
a girl at a certain village. Having obtained her own and her 
parents’ consent, he took her home, her sisters and some girl- 
friends accompanying her. At nightfall he became a Lion 
again and, leaving the girls in his hut, went to summon the 
other lions. He thought the girls were all asleep, but one of 
them had seen the transformation and, as soon as all was quiet, 
she called her companions, and they made their escape. They 
had walked a long way when, tired out and frightened, they 
met with a Tortoise who, on hearing of their plight, came to 
the rescue by swallowing them all. He then ate a quantity of 
grass and leaves and kept on his way. Presently the Lion, 
who had for some time been on the track of the girls, came up 
with the Tortoise and asked if he had seen them, which the 
Tortoise denied. The Lion, however, was suspicious, and, 
noticing that the Tortoise’s body seemed greatly distended, 
asked him what he had been eating. The Tortoise answered: 
“Only grass,” and, when the Lion was still incredulous, 


coughed up a quantity to convince him. This seemed to be 
proof positive, and the Lion took himself off, while the Tor- 
toise travelled on till he reached the girls’ village, and there, 
before the eyes of their astonished parents, brought them up 
safe and sound. 

This unpleasant mode of rescue is also practised by the 
Tortoise in a Benga tale,** where, having won a wife who is 
coveted by the Leopard, he swallows her, with her servants 
and all their goods. When questioned by the Leopard, he 
declares that he has eaten large quantities of mushrooms — 
which is, in fact, the case. But the Leopard, less easily satis- 
fied than the Kavirondo lion, insists that he shall “go on 
vomiting,” till furniture, goats, slaves, and at last the wife, 
are produced. “Tortoise thought to himself: ‘I have no 
strength for war.’? So, though anger was in his heart, he 
showed no displeasure in his face.” But nevertheless, he 
enjoyed a very complete revenge when his time came. 

This aspect of the Tortoise recalls the “‘ Great Tortoise ” 
of the Zulus,* who, in his turn, appears to be related to 
Usilosimapundu and Isiququmadevu. But usually, in the 
tales, he is not conceived as gigantic — merely as our familiar 
little friend of the forest and veld. 


HE SPIDER of West Africa, Anansi," is a very 
different being from the Spider whom we occasionally 

find in the Bantu area associated with creation, or acting as 
intermediary between heaven and earth. So in the Angola 
story ® of the son of Kimanawezi who married the daughter 
of the Sun and Moon, we find that the Sun’s handmaidens, 
when they come down to earth to draw water, ascend and 
descend by means of a spider’s thread. Similarly, the Lower 
Congo people relate that the Spider brought down fire from 
heaven.* The Duala represent the other animals as consulting 
the oracle of the Spider, in the story of “ The Animals and the 
Tiger-Cat ”* (Mbanga-njo). They had clubbed together to 
clear a site for a village, but had no axes; the only one who 
possessed any was Mbanga-njo. He, when applied to, refused 
to lend an axe unless they could tell his name, which had 
hitherto been a family secret. The little Zseru Antelope 
(probably identical with “ Cunnie Rabbit”) was deputed to 
ask advice of the Spider, who told him to go into the forest 
and, when he came to a trap with a bird in it, to take the bird 
out and go on till he came to a fish-trap. He must take out 
the fish he would find in it and put in the bird, and return to 
the first trap and leave the fish in it, and then hide and 
await the result. Presently the two sons of the Tiger-Cat 
came along to look at their traps, and each of them exclaimed 
in astonishment: “ Oh! my father Mbanga-njo! — who ever 
saw the like? ” When they had gone on their way, Iseru 
returned to his village, called all the animals together by 


means of the signal-drum, and said: “ Now let us fetch the 
axes from the home of him whose name we do not know.” 
So they went to Tiger-cat’s house and made their request. 
“Tell me my name.” “ Your name is Sango Mbanga-njo.” 
As much surprised as Tom-tit-tot and others in like circum- 
stances, he handed over the axes, and Iseru was lauded by all 
the animals for his good sense. 

Schén*® records a story in which the Spider ascends to 
heaven by his thread, in order to attend a wedding-feast; but 
his conduct when he gets there is quite in accordance with the 
general West African estimate of his character. He is un- 
grateful to the Cobweb which enabled him to reach the sky 
(and which is spoken of as if endowed with a separate person- 
ality); the Cobweb is offended and refuses to take him back 
to earth; the Dove offers to do so for a consideration, but, 
on arriving, instead of giving her the promised gold, he 
roasts and eats her. There was some justification for the 
poor Dove’s remark when hesitating over the bargain: “ With 
you people of the earth, if a man makes it day for you, you 
make it night for him.” 

Ellis ° says that the Gold Coast tribes hold the human race 
to be descended from the Spider — which probably means 
that he was once a totem, or one of the animal deliverers and 
Demiurges (like Yehl and Ioskeha) who may or may not — 
this is not a point I feel competent to discuss — be glorified 
totems. In any case, his character has suffered considerably 
since his descent from mythology into folklore. 

The usual Spider or “ Anansi” story of West Africa is 
of a type which falls into line with the Hare, Jackal and 
Tortoise stories of other regions. He is a less pleasing 
personality than these, and one is inclined to deny him a single 
redeeming feature; but the Hausa, at least, do not appear 
to take so harsh a view. Mr. Rattray‘ says: “‘ The Hyena is 

. . the personification in Hausa folklore of all that is 


means of the signal~drum, and said: “Now let us fetch the 
axes from the home of him whose name we do not know.” 
So they went to Tiger-cat’s house and made their request. 
“Tell me my name.” “ Your name is Sango Mbanga-njo.” 
As much surprised as Tom-tit-tot and others in like circum- 
stances, he handed over the axes, and tapes was lauded by all 
he animals for his good sense, a 
Schon * records a story in which he Spider macula: ee 
ven by his thre ead, in order to attend a wedding-feast;. but 
his conduct when he gets there 18 quite in accordance with the : 
‘neral West African estimate of hie character. He is un- a 
teful to the Cobweb which enabled Bike to reach the. sky : 
id which 1s spoken of as if endowed with a separate. person- 
‘); the Cob web is offended and refuses to take him bach 
cath; the Dove sate dexiwervor 2 considerat 
By i “ se Ge Sou Nig 
Seite d a ‘photograp é. Pp “Whauty Tal oe 
mark wie) esitating over the bargain: 

r the earth, if a man makes it day tee, 

rht tor him. 4s ae 

* says that the Gold Coast tribes hold the in iman 
lescended from the Spider — which probabl 

nce a totem, or one of the animal delin 

like ¥ ehl a and + tonnes who may OF 


in any case, his charsiecen has suffered.) ‘ 
lescent from mythology into folklore... 

of a typ ok falls into line with the riar 
Tortoise stories of other regions. He is a 
personality ia these, and one is inclined to le 
redeeming features but the rr 4 least, pe 
to take so abi a view. Mr. ty "Says: ae 


greedy and treacherous. Quite a different character from 
that ascribed to the gizo-gizo (spider), for instance, whose 
cunning and plausibility are rather admired than otherwise.” 
This cannot be said of the Temne, who, while duly impressed 
by Mr. Spider’s cleverness, draw a very clear distinction be- 
tween it and the more endearing wiles of Cunnie Rabbit. 

We find him not only astute and resourceful, but mean, 
greedy and cruel, and his treatment of his own family is a 
scandal to any decent African. It is curious that his son 
(sometimes called Kweku Anansi and, in the West Indies, 
Tacoma) usually appears in a much more favourable light. 
Whether this son is supposed to be a spider pure and simple 
is not clear: the Bushongo cosmogony and various facts in 
Bushman mythology prepare one for the weirdest relation- 
ships between animals; and the Temne, it appears, say that the 
Spider’s wife is Koki, the “ Praying Mantis.” 

Sometimes we are told—and the statement probably 
marks a late stage of myth-development — that the Spider 
was formerly a man. One Hausa story * says that he was a 
smith who played a remarkably low-down trick on the Lion 
and was by him torn to pieces and trampled in the dust. The 
pieces joined together became the Spider. The Temne”® say 
he was once “round lek pusson” and acquired his present 
more or less flattened shape through being stuck to, and for- 
cibly detached from, the Wax Girl —the local equivalent 
for the Tar-Baby. The explanation of his small waist given 
by the same people *® is this: Hearing that feasts were to be 
held in the surrounding villages, the Spider determined to 
secure a supply of meat from all. He therefore took up his 
position in a central spot and gave each of his children a rope, 
of which he had tied the other end round his waist. He then 
instructed each of them to pull his end of the rope when the 
feasting was about to begin at the village which he had reached, 
so that their father might lose no time in repairing thither. 


Unluckily, for him, all the dinners began at the same time, 
so that he was pulled simultaneously in several directions, 
and his figure shows the results to this day. 

A peculiarity everywhere attributed to the Spider is his 
inability to pronounce words in the ordinary way. In Hausa 
he speaks with a lisp and says shaki for sarkin (“chief ”’), 
doyina for droina (“hippopotamus”), etc. The Gold Coast 
people describe him as talking through his nose. Even in the 
West Indies his queer speech is invariably emphasised.” 

Typical Spider stories are found among Twi, Hausa, Vai 
and Temne, to name no more. They. are markedly absent 
from the folklore of Calabar, Ikom, and Yoruba,” where the 
Tortoise figures most prominently, and from that of Sene- 
gambia and French Guinea, so far as I have been able to ex- 
amine it, which favours the Hare — or whatever animal whose 
name the French authorities have translated “ liéuvre.” This 
is the case in the Tug-of-War story already mentioned. 

The Spider, for all his cunning and resourcefulness, is not 
invariably successful; — witness the following tale, told by the 
Hausa and, in a somewhat different form, by the Anyi of 
the Gold Coast. 

The Spider’s wife owned a cow, which the Spider — always 
described as afflicted with an insatiable appetite — desired to 
eat. He could not touch it (this is a point of African custom 
too often overlooked) without his wife’s permission, which 
she was not likely to give. So he feigned sickness and desired 
her to consult a certain one-eyed wizard, to be found at a 
place which he indicated to her. He then tied a patch over 
one eye, took a short cut through the bush, and reached the 
spot before she could get there. Not recognising him, she 
paid the fee and said she had come to ask his advice about 
her husband, who was very ill. He told her it was impossible 
that the patient could recover, “if you do not give him this 
cow of yours, that he may go to the bush with it, to some 


place where there is no one, not even a fly, and there kill it.” 
(The stipulation for the absence of flies is felt by the narrator 
to be the acme of meanness: the Spider does not intend to 
lose even the smallest particle of the meat.) The wife went 
home and found her husband groaning in bed. He was, as 
might be expected, eager to try the remedy, and insisted, in 
spite of his wife’s remonstrances, that he could crawl, if he 
could not walk. In fact, he already felt so much better that 
he got out of bed and caught the cow. They set out, accom- 
panied by their son, but had to travel a long way through the 
bush before they could find a suitable place and, even then, 
there was one fly there. However, the Spider concluded 
that this was negligible, so he killed the beast, skinned it, 
and then, thinking that the red of the sunset, seen through 
the trees, was a distant fire, sent off the boy to fetch a brand, 
that they might roast the meat. While he was on the way, 
the sun went down, but he could still see a red spot, which he 
took to be a fire, though it was in fact the open mouth of the 
bush-demon known as the Dodo. The boy tried to light 
a bit of dry grass at the supposed fire, when he was startled 
by a voice saying: “ Who are you? ” In his fright, he could 
only answer: “ My father says you are to come,” and the 
Dodo rose up and followed him. When they reached the place, 
the Dodo said: “ Here I am,” and the Spider retorted. “ Who 
called you? ” “ The Dodo said: ‘ Your son called me.? And 
the Spider was about to strike the boy, but the Dodo said: ‘ You 
must not beat him.’ So he refrained and cut off one lump of 
meat and gave it to the Dodo. And the Dodo said: ‘ For the 
sake of a little thing like this does a friend summon a friend? 
Add to it, increase it.? And so on, and so on, until the Dodo 
had taken all the Spider’s meat from him.” 

But, even so, Dodo was not satisfied, but, on the Spider’s 
pointing out that there was no meat left, said: “ Even if you 
give me yourself, I shall not refuse.” The Spider, ignoring 


this broad hint, handed over, first his son and then his wife, 
whom the Dodo stowed away in the elephant-skin sack where 
he had already secured the meat. As he was still unsatisfied, 
the Spider began to pick young pumpkins which were growing 
close by, but though he cleared the whole garden, he could 
not fill the bag and found himself at the end of his resources. 
“ So the Dodo opened the mouth of the bag and said: ‘ Come 
here, get in.?, And the Spider entered by compulsion, not of 
his own wish.” ** 

Then Dodo tied up his bag, shouldered it and went on 
through the forest, looking for a convenient place to roast his 
prey. Presently the Camel came along, like a chief, with a 
long trail of followers singing his praises. He took no notice 
of the Dodo and passed on. Soon after, the Dodo met the 
he-Goat, with a similar procession; he too passed on, saying 
nothing. Then came the Rat and was about to pass likewise, 
when his “ tail ” drew his attention to the fact that Dodo was 
carrying something. The Rat, no doubt made suspicious by 
past experience, stopped and questioned Dodo; but the latter 
lost his temper and swallowed him —to little purpose, how- 
ever; for the Rat, three times over, emerged unhurt from 
various parts of his person. ‘Then the Dodo fell down 
and died.” ‘The Rat had the bag opened, and out came the 
Spider with his wife and son. On hearing his story, the Rat 
said: “ Worthless one, take your meat and get off home. 
Allah has been good to you this day,” and so departed; 
while the Spider, not much disturbed by this candid address, 
gathered up the meat of which he had so nearly been deprived, 
went home with his family, and sent his slaves to cut up the 
Dodo, who was apparently considered edible.” 

We have already seen that the Spider sometimes figures 
instead of the Tortoise in the Tug-of-War story.’ The 
Hausa version of this presents some novel features and an 
interesting sequel,"* He is not concerned with asserting his 


dignity against the Elephant and the Hippopotamus — only 
with obtaining a supply of food which, to do him justice, he 
this time intends to share with his family. He brings the 
Elephant.a message, as from the Hippopotamus, asking for 
a hundred baskets of grain and promising to send a horse in 
return, at harvest-time. He makes the same promise to the 
Hippopotamus in consideration of a hundred baskets of fish. 
When the time comes to redeem his promise, he hands each 
creditor the end of a rope, telling him that the horse is at 
the other end, but is very wild and vicious. Both pull with 
all their might, unconsciously move along the rope and at 
last, meeting face to face in the forest, discover the trick. 
Naturally, their first thought is to discover the Spider and 
pay him out; but he is quite ready for them. He finds the 
skin of a dead antelope, gets inside it and wanders about — 
presenting, of course, a lamentable appearance. He meets 
the Elephant who inquires what has reduced him to this con- 
dition. “I was unfortunate enough to quarrel with the 
Spider, and he pointed his hand at me. Those at whom he 
points his hand waste away as I have done.” The Elephant 
believed him, for (like the Lion in a similar predicament) ** 
“he was a fool,” and at once gave up the search, and — the 
Hippopotamus meeting with a similar experience — the Spider 

We may now relate an Ewe tale** which in some respects 
resembles the one given in Chapter V, though it makes no 
allusion to the spirit-world. The Spider had a friend named 
Detsyovi, who, during a time of famine, happened to be stroll- 
ing through the Bush, when he saw a millstone grinding by 
itself and a stream of honey flowing beside it. Detsyovi ate 
as much honey as he wanted and then took some, with a sup- 
ply of flour, for his wife and children at home. This he did 
from time to time, and so they were enabled to live and grow 
fat. One day the Spider (Yiyi) came to see Detsyovi and 


asked him where he got the food on which the family appeared 
to be thriving. Detsyovi refused to tell him, on the ground 
that he was too talkative. Yuiyi, however, left him no peace 
till he consented, but said they would wait till the next morn- 
ing, when the women went to fetch water. The Spider was 
too impatient to wait for daylight, but came along while it 
was yet dark, with a water-jar on his head, rattling the gourd- 
dipper inside it, and called out that the women were already 
on their way to the well.” Detsyovi, looking out, saw that it 
was still too early, and told him to wait till the women swept 
out the courtyard. Yiyi at once took up a broom and began 
sweeping, as noisily as he could, and then hurried to his friend, 
telling him that it was time. But Detsyovi, seeing no sign of 
daylight, said that he would go with him when the sun rose. 
Then the Spider went a little way off and set fire to some 
bundles of sticks, hoping that the glare would deceive Det- 
syovi; but the latter refused to come out, and both went to sleep 
again till morning. 

When, at last, it was really daylight, they went into the 
forest together, and Detsyovi led the Spider to the place where 
the millstone was grinding and the honey flowing. Yiyi 
shouted aloud: “ Why! there’s food here, and we have to 
go hungry! ” Detsyovi said: “ Don’t make such a noise! ” 
They both stooped down and drank some honey, and then the 
Spider hoisted up the millstone on to his head. The stone 
began to sing, telling him to carry it back and put it down; 
but he would not listen. He went round with it to all the 
people in the neighbourhood, who paid him cowries for various 
quantities of flour, till his bag was full of money. But when 
he grew tired and wanted to carry the stone back to its place, 
he found that it had stuck to his head, and he could not lift it 
off. The weight crushed him into small pieces, which were 
completely covered by the stone. “That is why we often 
find tiny spiders gathered together under large stones.” ” 


If the Spider had not carried off the millstone from its place 
in the forest people could have gone there to this day, in 
times of scarcity, and got food. 

Among the Ewe the Spider has, on the whole, the character 
which we have already indicated, though there are one or 
two curious traces of his figuring as a benefactor. Spieth 
says: °° “The Spider surpasses all the beasts of the field in 
courage and cunning.” (His courage is not, as a rule, conspic- 
uous elsewhere.) ‘ He gets the better of the Leopard... 
and also of the Elephant . .. he borrows money from a 
chief and refuses, even after numerous reminders, to repay 
it. By his magic power, he delivers the whole population of 
a town from the destructive ‘ sword-bird.’ Yet, on the other 
hand, it was the Spider who brought sores, and even death, 
into the world.” 

The stories given as evidence of the last two statements 
are not very clear, and are probably remnants of some older 
tradition. Anansi has so few redeeming points in his char- 
acter that it will be well to give the first of them,” with all 
its obscurities. 

Once, in time of famine, the children of God (Mawu) came 
down to earth, and the Spider (Yiyi) asked them if his 
daughter Yiyisa was there (in heaven, presumably). He 
requested that, when they returned, they would take her a 
small parcel which they were to fetch from his house. If 
he were not at home when they called, they would find it lying 
on the hearth and were to carry it away without further cere- 
mony. ‘This was because he intended to get himself tied up 
in the parcel; and, for the same reason, he bade them tell his 
daughter not to open it until she was in the inner compartment 
of the house. His daughter was, naturally, much surprised at 
seeing him, but received him cordially and did all she could to 
make him comfortable, only informing him that he would have 
to go elsewhere for the night, as no one else slept in that 


town.”* The Spider asked the reason, adding that nothing 
would induce him to leave the place. Yiyisa answered: “ There 
is a bird here with a beak as long as from Ho to Tsibu; and, 
if we stay, he will come and eat us.” The Spider replied, 
boasting of himself by his laudatory names*: “ The bird 
will have no desire to eat me — me, the Little Gun! — me, the 
Little Gourd! —I will stay here! ” Accordingly, he re- 
mained, and set about sharpening his knife to such an edge 
that “if a fly settled on it, it became as water.” During the 
night, the bird set out, singing: 

““ We birds, we birds, we eat human flesh! 

We birds of Akem, we birds of the free-born, we eat human flesh! 

When we cry aloud, no other bird cries! 
When we cry aloud, the grass dies in the bush! ” 

The Spider sat in the inner room, keeping up his courage 
by the repetition of his praise-names, till at last the tip of the 
bird’s beak— which preceded him by several hours — 
reached the town. The Spider hacked it off with his knife 
and continued to cut off fresh pieces, till he killed the bird. 
Then he struck up his war-song: 

“* We Spiders, we Spiders, we live in the wall! 
We Spiders of Akem, we Spiders of the free-born —” 

and so on, adapting the bird’s slogan to his own use. 

The people, when they came back and heard this, rejoiced 
greatly, but told him there was yet another plague for him 
to get rid of —a man covered with sores, who would not 
permit them to sleep in their town. He desired them not to 
leave the place, and, in the night, he heard this pestilent 
person approach, singing: 

“ Ado says, ‘ The angry man shall kill me! ?” 

The Spider began to dance and went on till morning, when 
he told the man to come again and sing to him. The people 


4 beret 
xf Re Stay, : = 
hogating & + plenaale PA hia laudatory names 
will tee no cewre to eat me ~~ me, the Little Gus? 
Little Gourd’ ~~ 1 will stay here! ” oe 

We birds of A rien we birds of the free-born, we eat nee sa . 
When we cry aloud, no other bird eries! oe 
Whe we cry a wi the grass dies in the bush! = ae - 

Spider sat in (hep nth es his 0 
e-names, till at last the Gp ° 
Caen of che -Bankutu - 

atterns on aie 
P Nei der hacked it off with his. 

snued to cat of fresh pieces, till he tilled the & 

he struck up his war-song: BOE 

W uers, We Spiders, we live in the wall! hy ahaa 
We ders of Akem, we Spiders of the free-born eC ae 

n, adapting the bird’s slogan to iis GWE tise, 7 es 
they came back and heard this, # rej c 

. 4 
me 7 jit-~ wher 

Testi I tat told } 
to get rid of —-a man comme wide’ sores, who 

yermit them to ot in their town. He desired: 
eave the place, and, in the fen. be heard” | 

person mbsf singing: 

The Spider began to dance and oa eel: | 
he toid the man to come again and § ng to him. 



assembled; the man sang, and the Spider danced with great 
vigour, till at last he became infected with the man’s sores. 

Nothing I have been able to discover throws any light on 
this mysterious statement. It is not even clear whether the 
sores were transferred from the man to the Spider, thus free- 
ing the former, or whether the latter merely caught the infec- 
tion. The narrator goes on to say: 

“ At first Mawu had not made any sores in the world ”»— 
perhaps there is an idea of Pandora’s box here — “ but when 
the Spider had got them, they spread among men. Formerly 
they were only with Mawu, but now they are spread abroad 
through the world, because of what the Spider did.” 

It is thus evident that he was a very partial benefactor; 
and in the next story,” though it appears that his intentions 
were to some extent good, he only succeeds in causing dis- 
aster. The tale, as we have it, cannot be very near its primitive 
form, whatever that may have been; but its importance is 
attested by the existence of two West Indian versions,” in 
one of which (very obscure) Annancy marries his daughter 
to Death, while in the other he sends her to Death’s house 
as a servant. 

This, too, begins with the statement that “there was a 
famine in the land.” Death, whose habitat is not clearly indi- 
cated (he is taken for granted as dwelling within easy reach 
of, but not among, mankind) kept himself alive by snaring 
game. Todo this more efficiently, he hoed a broad road about 
six miles long and set his traps in it. The Spider, finding 
that there was plenty of meat in Death’s house, came cadg- 
ing there with a huge basket; and, in order to have an excuse 
for repeating his visits indefinitely, he finally gave Death 
his daughter in marriage. 

Death warned his wife not to pass along the broad road 
when she fetched water from the river; and, for a time, all 
went well. But one morning, after heavy rain, unwilling to 


take the narrow side-path through the wet grass, she went 
by the road, stepped into a trap and got killed. Death, when 
he found her body, was hampered by no sentimental scruples, 
but cut it up and set the joints to dry by the fire. Yiyi, 
missing her when he paid his usual call, asked where she 
was and was told that he would find her if he removed 
some of the meat. Though not in general an affectionate 
parent, he was so far roused as to say: “I am now going 
home, but I will come again; and I am not going to take you 
by surprise —I shall make open war on you.” He went 
away, sharpened his knife to such a point that it would split 
a fly, flung the weapon at Death and fled. Death discharged 
an arrow, which set the Bush on fire but did not hit the Spider 
— he being by this time safe in his house. Death lay in wait 
for him outside the village and, in the meantime, amused 
himself by shooting at the women who passed through the 
gardens with their water-jars, on their way to the river. After 
a while, he went to look, found that he had killed several, 
and exclaimed in delight: “ Why, this is game! I need never 
go and set traps in the Bush any more! ” In this way, Death 
came into the world. The narrator seems to mean by this the 
world of men—the animals having experienced Death’s 
power for some time previous to the Spider’s unlucky 

Nothing more is said about the Spider himself — but it 
is to be presumed that he escaped — at any rate for the time 
being. In both the Jamaica versions, he is represented as 
outwitting Death. He climbs the rafters, with his wife and 
children, while Death waits below. One by one, they are 
forced by exhaustion to let go and are seized and put aside 
for future consumption. Annancy tells Death he is so fat 
that he will “ pop ” if he falls on the ground, and so, “if you 
no want me fat fe waste, go an’ fetch someting fe catch 
me.” * Death fetches a cask of flour from the next room, 


and Annancy, dropping into it, raises such a dust as to blind 
him for the time being and allow his victims to get out of 

It may yet be possible to recover a more satisfactory version 
of the Ewe legend, which may make these fragmentary tales 
more intelligible and also throw some light on the Spider’s 
mythological position. 



TORIES about witches distinctly characterised as such 
are not very common in Africa —certainly not among 
the Bantu. The personage who, in European tales, would 
figure as the witch more often belongs to the numerous and 
weird family of ogres or amazimu. Bleek’s theory* that 
Bantu “ ancestor-worship and belief in the supernatural give 
rise to horrible ghost-stories and tales of witchcraft,” while 
beast-fables are conspicuous by their absence, scarcely needs 
refuting at this time of day; and Jacottet * comments on the 
comparative rarity of such legends, except among the Herero, 
a people peculiarly open to non-Bantu influences. 

Some interesting particulars as to Hausa witches are given 
by Tremearne,* most of them tending to bear out the above 
view — Viz., that the witch is rather a preternatural or, at 
any rate, abnormal being than a mere human creature possessed 
of magical skill. Thus we find that “a witch and Dodo are 
often interchangeable ”; “ when a witch is killed, every bit 
of her must be destroyed, for even a single drop of her 
blood can kill the victim ”— just as the remains of the zimwi 
in the Swahili story give rise to a pumpkin-plant which de- 
velops equal powers for mischief. Another unpleasant pecu- 
liarity is the following: “ All witches have many mouths which 
they can cause to appear all over their bodies at will, and the 
owner can turn them back into one by slapping herself.” * The 
vimu of the Wachaga® is, in one case, detected by his pos- 
session of a second mouth in the back of his head, and one tribe 


of ogres, according to the Baronga,° have one in the nape of 
the neck, where it is usually hidden by their long hair. 

But witchcraft, though not often mentioned in the tales, 
occupies (as is only too well known) a prominent place in 
African folk-belief. The terror which makes small boys — 
and indeed older people —in Nyasaland reluctant to go out 
after dark, is not ghosts or bogies, as we understand them, but 
afiti, wizards. In East Africa, I have been assured in all 
seriousness that wizards (wanga) are in the habit of knocking 
at people’s doors by night, and woe'to those who open and 
answer them! They entice you (or perhaps induce you by 
hypnotic power) to follow them into the forest and there kill 
you. My informant did not expressly mention for what 
purpose, but every one knows it; and the theory and prac- 
tice of ufiti seem to be wonderfully uniform, from the Tana 
to the Cross River, and beyond, for there can be little doubt 
that it underlies the Obi and “ Voodoo ” rites reported from 
the West Indies and the Southern States of America. 

A mistake which has sometimes been made with regard to 
these last is to treat them as normal manifestations of African 
religion, whereas they represent not merely unauthorized but 
illicit and positively criminal practices. It should be remem- 
bered that most, if not all, of the slaves voluntarily sold by 
their own tribe, in the days when the trade flourished, were 
either criminals or debtors. Similarly, we find some writers 
even now confusing witches and witch-doctors ‘— which is 
much as if one made no distinction between the thief and the 

Witches, in general, do not seem to be credited with such 
multifarious activities as in Europe. Though one does hear 
of their causing injury or death through spite and revenge, 
their principal raison d’étre as a society (in parts of East 
Africa, at any rate, they appear to form an organized guild) 
is to feed on the bodies of those recently dead — doubtless 


in order to secure a cumulative supply of strength, wit, courage 
and other desirable qualities. To this end, when deaths from 
natural causes occur too infrequently, or the “ subjects ” are 
unsuitable, they cause people to die by means more or less 
occult. It is generally believed, and probably with reason, 
by those in a position to know, that they possess an extensive 
knowledge of poisons; and it also seems likely that they often 
kill by suggestion.° 

The Nyasaland natives believe that it is not through poison 
that the victims are killed, but (as our authority not very 
clearly puts it) “by supposed power against them through 
medicine.” ® Witches can make themselves invisible, dance 
in the air, and move from place to place regardless of the 
ordinary laws of matter; and the dread of them explains many 
funeral customs —e.g., the drumming and dancing kept up 
night and day till the corpse is buried, the abandonment of the 
deceased’s house, which is shut up and left to decay, the fact that 
no one will sleep in it while the burial rites are going on, etc., 
etc. They make their fire on a recent grave, and it can be 
seen for miles— hence any light of unknown origin is re- 
garded with suspicion. (It is not an actual fire, but the 
grave itself becomes luminous, “shining with an uncaused 
light.”) I remember being assured that some flames of unu- 
sual height and brilliancy, observed during the grass-burning 
season on Nyambadwe hill, near Blantyre, were caused by afiti. 
So, too, the Baziba*® never venture near a fire seen in the 
distance at night, believing that it marks the place where the 
witches are seated in council, deliberating who shall next be 

Witches have power over certain animals, whom they em- 
ploy as their messengers or familiars.** Such are the owl, 
the hyena, the leopard, sometimes the lion, a kind of jackal, 
snakes, etc. The Zulus believe that the baboon is sent out 
by abatagati (wizards) on “ villainous errands,” as is also the 


wildcat. These errands are of various kinds. “ The leopards 
will go to any house and carry off fowls or goats just as they 
are ordered. The snakes, too, will hurt any victim chosen by 
the wizard.” Or, as the Zulus say, the wildcat may be 
sent to suck other people’s cows, or to collect izidwedwe, i.e., 
old rags which have been in close contact with people’s bodies 
and which may be supposed to absorb some of their personality 
and, therefore, can be used for bewitching them. 

When it has been decided to hold a cannibal feast, these 
messengers, especially “the owl who sits on the head of the 
chief ” (presumably the arch-sorcerer) are sent out to summon 
the witches to the grave where the unholy fire has been kin- 
dled. The grave is opened (the well-known habits of hyenas 
may explain this point), the dead man brought out, restored 
to life, killed again, cut to pieces and eaten — sometimes on 
the spot; but sometimes the “ meat ” is carried home and 
hidden, after being divided among the participants.” 

Every member of the witches’ corporation takes it in turn 
to provide a victim, and no one is allowed to evade the obli- 
gation, even if it entails the sacrifice of his or her nearest rela- 
tion. A popular song recorded from Pemba™ (by no means 
contemptible as poetry) gives expression to this idea, being 
the lament of a mother who has sacrificed her daughter and — 
so to speak —sold her soul for nothing, since she has not 
obtained what she was led to expect in return. 

In the cases referred to above, the victim is consumed after 
death and burial (whether always revivified and killed again, 
as in Nyasaland and Zanzibar, does not seem clear); but with 
some West African tribes (e.g., the Mpongwe), the procedure 
is different. Here, if accounts are to be trusted,” hypnotism 
appears to be at work. ‘The witches remain, to all appearance, 
asleep in their huts; but “ their real selves,” or, as theosophists 
would say, their astral bodies, go out into the forest to hold 
their nocturnal orgies, while, by the same, or some analogous 


process, they bring out the “self ” of the destined victim, 
extract his “ heart’s life” and consume it. The person thus 
treated dies, if the whole of his life is eaten; if it is not eaten 
all at once he suffers from a lingering illness, but will recover, 
if even a part of it is restored. 

Corpses are sometimes restored to life for other purposes 
than that of being eaten. Zulu sorcerers are said to dig up a 
dead person in order to make of him (or her) a familiar, 
known by the name of wmkovu. They give certain medicines 
to bring back the life, then “they run a hot needle up the 
forehead towards the back part of the head, then slit the 
tongue ” *° — or, according to another authority,’ cut off the 
tip, so that he can only speak “ with an inarticulate confused 
sound.” These beings are sent out by night to work charms, or 
place poison in the kraals. They go about “ shrieking, yelling 
and making night hideous”? — though presumably not while 
engaged on the errands just mentioned —and have the power 
of compelling the grass to twine round the feet of a belated 
traveller, so as to hold him till they come up. “If they call 
a man by his name, and he is green enough to answer toit ... 
he is drawn like Sindbad’s ships to the loadstone rock . . . they 
soon finish him, cut his throat, pull out his tongue and enrol 
him in their . . . corps.” *® 

The appearance of an umkovu in a kraal is a presage of 
death, and if any one there happens to be ill at the time, it is 
certain he cannot recover. 

One of the rare Suto tales dealing with witchcraft may be 
given here,’ because it illustrates some points in what has 
already been said, and also because of some remarkable coin- 
cidences with one presently to be quoted, from the distant 
region of Calabar. It is sometimes given as an account of the 
way in which witchcraft was first introduced among the Basuto: 
in that case it is not clear whence it was derived. 

A young girl, recently married to a man who lived at a 


distance from her own home, was called one night by her 
mother-in-law and went with her to a ravine, where they 
found the people with whom the older woman “ used to 
practise witchcraft, also ghosts (dithotsela) and baboons and 
many other animals.” The woman had brought with her two 
sticks, one black and one brown; and, having ordered the whole 
assembly to sit down, she shook the black stick at them, and 
they all died. She then waved the brown one towards them, 
and they all returned to life. She then handed them to her 
daughter-in-law and told her to use them. She waved “ the 
staff that kills,” left the people dead on the ground and re- 
turned home to tell her husband. In the morning, the chief of 
the village called all the people together and found that there 
was some one absent from many of the huts. He then went 
with his wife to the place of the meeting and found the people 
still stretched on the ground. The woman brandished the 
brown stick, and they all returned to life: the ghosts (who had 
presumably been embodied for the occasion) vanished away, 
but the human participants were all seen to be naked.” On 
reaching home, the young wife refused to stay any longer in 
such a place, but returned to her parents, to whom she said: 
“I have been married among witches; I even know already 
how to practise witchcraft; if I had known, I would not 
have married there.” The mother-in-law was very angry 
and, the next night, sent a familiar in the shape of an obe 
(“a fabulous animal of very large size”) to fetch her. She 
tried in vain to awaken her parents and the other people in 
the kraal, was carried off and cruelly beaten with sticks by 
the assembled witches. The ode carried her back, and when 
her parents got up in the morning, they found her bruised 
and swollen all over. The same thing happened again twice, 
but on the fourth occasion the obe was killed by armed men 
posted in accordance with a witch-doctor’s directions. The 
witch came next morning and asked for the obe’s skin, which 


was refused, and she was ultimately driven from her village 
and “ went away for good.” 

The story told by the Ikom of the Cross River (Southern 
Nigeria) * also professes, if not to account for the origin of 
witchcraft, at least to relate how it became known to that 
particular tribe. 

A chief named Ndabu, who had been childless for many 
years, consulted a “ juju man,” or witch-doctor, and was 
advised by him to put away all his wives except one, from 
whom, after certain ceremonies had been performed, he might 
expect a family. On the birth of the eldest child, the witch- 
doctor prophesied that one of the chief’s sons would “ some 
day discover something which the Okuni people had never 
heard or known of before.” One of the Okuni chiefs, Elullo, 
became jealous of Ndabu’s power and influence, and conspired 
with Elilli, one of the discarded wives, to get rid of him. Both 
of these people belonged to the witch-society, the existence of 
which was then unknown to all outside their own circle. They 
could not directly injure Ndabu and his house, as he kept 
powerful “ medicine ” to protect them; but they decided to 
“put a witch into” the youngest son, Amoru, and so use 
him for their purposes. Elullo then invited Ndabu, with 
all his family, to dinner and bewitched the portion of food 
set aside for Amoru. The effect of this was that, when 
summoned during the following night by Elullo (who came 
to the house in the shape of an owl), he was compelled to go; 
but the influence seems to have been limited, for Amoru 
retained his own individuality and, when given human flesh 
to eat at the witches’ feast, hid it and only ate the yams pro- 
vided with it. Every night, for six weeks, he was forced “ by 
the witch inside him ” to go and join in their revels, but, in- 
stead of eating the meat, he always took his share home and 
carefully put it by. At last they told him “it was his turn 
to provide a body for food, but Amoru said he was too young 

Nisiudny a. G81: 
eysbio Dk 


Charms to protect a village against witchcraft and 
other evil influences. Bakongo tribe, on the Loange 
River, a tributary of the Kasai. After a photograph 
by E. Torday. 




and had no one to give. Then Chief Elullo said: ‘ You have 
a father and mother and plenty of brothers and sisters, we 
shall be pleased to eat any of them.’?” The boy entreated 
them in vain to let him off; but at last they agreed to wait 
till his turn should come round a second time, when he was 
to hand over one of his parents. As the time drew near, he 
became more and more uneasy and at last confided in his 
eldest brother, showing him the hidden store of meat to prove 
that his words were true. They then agreed upon a plan 
for catching the witches. 

That night, when Amoru went as usual to the witches’ 
meeting, Elullo reminded him of his obligation, and he re- 
plied that he would give his eldest brother, Nkanyan. The 
chief told some of the people to go and fetch Nkanyan, tak- 
ing with them the “ night-calabash,” which was always carried 
by the witches on such errands, in order magically to prolong 
the darkness. Amoru, however, insisted that Elullo, being 
the chief, ought to accompany them, and he consented — 
Amoru going first to show the way. When they entered the 
hut, the man carrying the “ night-calabash ” held it out three 
times towards Nkanyan; the third time Nkanyan sprang up 
and smashed it with his matchet. Immediately it was daylight, 
and the witches began to run out and try to escape. But 
Nkanyan called the people from the other huts, and, being 
naked, the miscreants were at once recognised and caught. 
Ndabu called the other chiefs together; the witches were tried, 
condemned, and burnt alive, and Elullo put to death with 
tortures.” Amoru was sent for treatment to a noted witch- 
doctor who “ took the witch out of his heart and put it under 
a rock,” after which he was quite cured. “The people then 
collected all the ashes . . . and threw them into the river, 
saying they had got rid of all the witches in their town.” 

An exceedingly curious account of an organization intended 
to counteract the doings of the witches’ guild was obtained 


some years ago in Nyasaland. Unfortunately, I can only 
give it from memory as received at second-hand, in the hope 
that documents relating to this or similar cases may become 
available at some future time. Societies of this sort are not 
uncommon — in fact, the “Human Leopards” of Sierra 
Leone were, in the first instance, a body whose object was to 
protect the community against witches. 

A member of the society was brought to trial for killing a 
man, which he admitted, but justified, on the plea that the 
victim was a witch. All the circumstances, and his character, 
being taken into consideration, he was discharged with a caution. 
His account of the society, and his connection with it was 
somewhat as follows: 

When he was a young man, a succession of deaths occurred 
in the village where he lived, so rapid and so unaccountable 
as to occasion a good deal of talk. He thought over the matter 
for a long time and finally consulted his father, asking whether 
he knew of any remedy for this state of things. His father 
replied that there was one, and had he been younger, he would 
have tried it himself; that his son could do so, if he felt able, 
but it was a great undertaking, requiring courage and resolu- 
tion, as well as physical strength. The son declaring himself 
willing, the old man told him to repair to a certain doctor, 
whom he named, at a village some distance away, and put 
himself under his direction. The doctor kept him under in- 
struction for some time and, when his initiation was complete, 
sent him home. “On the way,” said he, “ you will meet a 
funeral party. One of the bearers will give you his end of the 
bamboo pole ” —to which the corpse, wrapped in mats, is 
slung — “ you must take it and go on.” 

When the young man had gone some distance, he saw the 
head of the procession approaching along the narrow path, and 
seized by a sudden panic, turned aside and hid in the long 
grass, till he thought they had passed by. He came out again 


and went on, but presently saw a second funeral and again 
hid himself. The same thing happened again, and gradually 
the conviction dawned on him that it was one and the same 
procession and that he could not escape. So he went forward 
boldly and lifted the pole from the bearer’s shoulder to his 
own. As it touched him, he felt a kind of explosion in his 
head and knew no more. When he regained consciousness, 
he was lying on the path alone. He got up and went on his 
way without further adventure. 

When he next met the doctor —after some time — he 
related his experience, expressing some doubt as to whether 
what he had seen might not be an illusion. The answer was: 
“You are right; there was no funeral, it was I.” Probably 
the idea was to test his endurance by means of some hypnotic 
trick; but in the absence of trustworthy details, it seems idle 
to attempt any explanation. 

When he reached home, he seems either to have formed a 
local branch of the secret society or got into communication 
with such members as may have been within reach. Their 
procedure was to watch by night near a recent grave and seize 
upon any person approaching it, who, by, the nature of the case, 
it was believed, could only have come on a ghoul’s errand. 
They killed him by inserting a poisoned splinter of bamboo 
into the body, in such a way as to leave no external traces. The 
victim would go home and — conscious of guilt, or knowing 
that he could prove nothing against appearances — dared not 
complain and died in a few days. The last, however, know- 
ing that Europeans took a different view, reported the matter 
to the magistrate before his death. Hence the trial. 

The belief that sorcerers can change themselves into lions, 
leopards, hyenas, or other animals, seems to be found all over 
Africa as a matter of actual, living belief. At any rate, it 
is no more than thirty years since an old man was tried at 
Chiromo (Nyasaland) on a charge of murdering unoffending 


travellers — leaping on them out of the long grass, as they 
passed. He admitted the murders, alleging, in all good faith, 
that from time to time he turned into a lion; he always “ felt 
it coming on ” and was at such times driven by an irresistible 
instinct to kill some one.” 

We have seen that such animals are sent by wizards to do 
their bidding; this is not incompatible with the belief (held 
concurrently or as a local variation) that the wizards them- 
selves may assume their shapes, and that the hyenas which, 
unless due precautions are taken, invariably come and scratch 
the soil from a newly made grave are, in fact, afiti. . This 
implies the power of turning back again when desired, and is 
distinct from the idea of the dead coming back in animal form; 
yet there is a link beween the two in the notion that people 
can, by taking certain medicines, ensure that they shall change 
into certain animals when they die. This is probably, though 
not in all cases necessarily, for the sake of working mischief, 
so that such people may be classed as posthumous werewolves.”* 

Sometimes it is believed that people turn into animals while 
asleep —i.e., the soul leaves its human body and enters for 
the time being that of an animal. Gaunab, the being in 
Hottentot mythology who is sometimes described as the 
devil,” can assume at will any shape, human or animal — 
the latter, apparently, only by day. These avatars of his, 
whether buck, jackal, or any other creature, are invulnerable 
and never fly from the hunter.” 

When the late Walter Deane, a2 mighty hunter and much 
beloved by the Congo natives, was killed by an elephant at 
Lukolela in 1888, the natives insisted that this was no ordi- 
nary elephant, but “bad fetish ?— probably the expression 
used by an interpreter familiar with Europeans.** This may 
have meant one of three things: either (@) it was a “ were- 
elephant,” the shape temporarily assumed by a hostile sor- 
cerer, or (4) it might have been sent by such a sorcerer to 


kill Deane, or (c) —a case very similar to the last, but yet 
distinguishable — it might have been the totem-elephant of 
some enemy. In the absence of fuller information, the ques- 
tion must be left undecided. 

In Abyssinia, where (as among the Somali, Masai and 
others) all workers in iron are a race apart and to some extent 
outcasts, blacksmiths are supposed to turn into hyenas and 
commit depredations in that shape, like the wolf in the class- 
ical instance recorded by Apuleius.** A case is related by a 
European who “may be said to have been nearly an eye- 
witness ” of the occurrence.”* Coffin, who lived in Abyssinia 
for several years during the early part of the last century, had 
engaged one of these men as a servant. One evening he 
came and asked for leave of absence till next day. “ This 
request was immediately granted, and the young man took 
his leave; but scarcely was Mr. Coffin’s head turned to his 
other servants, when some of them called out, pointing in 
the direction the Buda had taken: ‘ Look, look, he is turning 
himself into a hyena! ? Mr. Coffin instantly looked round, 
but though he certainly did not witness the transformation, 
yet the young man had vanished, and he saw a large hyena 
running off at about a hundred paces distance. This happened 
in an open plain, without tree or bush to intercept the view.” 

Whatever may be thought of the above, it is certainly an 
item in folk-belief, which is what concerns us here; and the 
same writer records elsewhere ** how the people of Adowa 
asserted that a man once shot at one of six hyenas and hit it in 
the leg. They all made off, and when the men, who pursued 
them with spears, came up with them, they saw “ five Budas 
carrying a lame person.” The man was found to have a 
fresh shot-wound in the leg, and the Budas — like the witches 
in the two stories already given — had no clothes on. 

The werewolf idea frequently recurs in folk-tales; but usu- 
ally in a different. form from that hitherto mentioned; instead 


of a man turning himself into an animal, we have an animal 
turning himself into a man, for the purpose of securing for 
his wife a human being whom he intends to kill and eat, 
though his purpose is in most cases defeated, either by a 
brother or sister of the wife, by some helpful animal, or other- 
wise. The most popular beasts in this connection are the 
leopard and the hyena. But the story occurs in innumerable 
variations, the suitor being sometimes, not an animal but an 
ogre — disguised, of course — or even a mere “ robber,” while 
in a region long subject to European influence, he is, frankly, 
“the Devil.” It should also be noticed that the Wachaga 
(whose folklore unites two separate streams of tradition) have 
an extremely fluctuating conception of their irimu. Sometimes 
he is called a “ were-panther ” (but even as such his shape 
seems to differ from that of the ordinary leopard), but some- 
times he appears as an ordinary human being, except for a 
second mouth at the back of his head, and yet again, as a 
shapeless monster, with bushes growing out of him, like the 
Zulu Usilosimapundu. There is more than one Chaga tale 
relating the courtship of such a being, and one where a hyena 
(not called an ivimu) forces a girl to marry him and keeps 
her in his den till rescued by an old woman. But this tale, as 
it stands, seems to be a confusion of two different themes, and 
it is better to take a fairly typical one from Nyasaland.* 

A girl refused all suitors who presented themselves (this is 
the usual opening and serves to point a moral against pride 
and over-fastidiousness), but was at last attracted by a hand- 
some stranger from a far country, who was, in fact, a trans- 
formed hyena. Her parents consented, and the marriage took 
place. After some days, the husband prepared to take his 
bride home, and her little brother, who suspected something 
wrong, begged her to let him come too; but she refused, be- 
cause he had sore eyes.** He waited, however, and then 
followed them, crouching down and hiding in the grass when- 


ever he was about to come up with them. When he thought 
he was too far from home to be sent back, he joined them 
openly, but his new brother-in-law drove him back with threats 
and blows. So he dropped behind, but still followed them 
secretly and reached the village, where they so far took pity 
on him that they allowed him to sleep in the hen-house. Here 
he stayed awake, and when it was quite dark, he found that 
many hyenas had assembled (during the day all the people 
in the village had taken human form). They went round 
and round the house where the bride was sleeping and sang: 

“ Let us eat her, our game, but she is not yet fat enough! ” 

In the morning, he told his sister what he had heard, and 
she refused to believe him; so, at nightfall, he asked her to 
tie a string to her toe and pass the end out through the wall of 
the grass hut, where he could get it. When the hyenas began 
their dance, he pulled the string, so as to awaken her, and she 
heard them for herself. Next day, he borrowed his brother- 
in-law’s adze, saying that he wanted to make himself a spin- 
ning-top, and constructed a wooden receptacle of some sort, 
evidently having magical properties, for, not only was he 
able to get into it with his sister, but, on his singing a certain 
incantation, it rose into the air with them and carried them 
safely home, despite the pursuit of the hyenas. 

A story very similar to this is told by the Mpongwe,” of 
a leopard who, hearing how a certain girl has announced that 
she will accept no man as a husband whose skin is not perfectly 
smooth and flawless, gets himself treated by a medicine-man 
so as to fulfil the conditions and carries home his wife, who 
has a narrow escape of being eaten, but is saved by an enchanted 
horse, thoughtfully provided by her father. This horse, 
however, introduces an alien element into the conclusion, and 
will require a passing notice in our last chapter. 


T DOES not come within the scope of these pages to 
attempt definitions of mythology and folklore, or to say 
where the line should be drawn between them. But it seems 
to me that, in an old civilisation, though folk-belief may still 
be a living thing, it does not as a rule throw up new shoots of 
myth. Not that the mythopoeic faculty is by any means 
dead, even in these islands, as witness the legends of the 
Mons angels and the Russian army at Aberdeen. But there 
is a difference — better felt than expressed — between such 
fictitious narratives as these, disseminated (no doubt in all 
good faith) usually through the medium of the newspapers, 
and the equally fictitious narratives related and believed as 
sober fact, in Africa. I should not include among the latter 
such rumours as that of the miraculous fish caught at Zanzi- 
bar and bearing texts from the Koran on his sides — an anec- 
dote whose proper home would seem to be the columns of 
Tit Bits or the Daily Mail. But any day in casual conversation, 
one may hear of occurrences which might have been taken 
direct from some mediaeval chronicle. One was informed, 
for instance, how the women of Mambrui, during a long 
drought, went on pilgrimage to a ruined mosque in the woods, 
and there, in the pauses of their prayers, heard the spirits of 
“the old Sheikhs ” chanting, within the walls, “Asin” and 
“La illah iP Allah.” And the rain came down in torrents 
before they reached home. Or how a godless soldier of the 
Seyyid’s guards — “ one of those Hadhramis, you know, who 
have no respect for anything” — shot down the glittering 


1. Ancient Pillar at Mambrui, from which the 
urn is said to have been shot down. 

2. Ruined house at Lamu... Note the rows. of 
niches along the wall which are used as shelves, ‘They 
were often filled with valuable china by rich Arabs. 



bowl which used to finish off the top of the great pillar just 
outside the town, and fell down dead before the fragments 
reached the ground. Or how my informant’s grandfather 
was cured of his blindness through remedies revealed to him 
in a dream by “ our lord Hamza.” * 

A remarkable example of these modern myths is the follow- 
ing, sent me in MS. by the Rev. K. Becker, formerly of the 
Neukirchen Mission, at Kulesa on the Tana. His account is 
translated from the notes of one of his native teachers, who 
got the narrative at first hand from an aged woman at Mwana- 
thamba — a village not far from Ngao. I may mention that 
I had heard of the story before receiving Mr. Becker’s MS. 
and had twice walked over to Mwanathamba in order to secure 
an interview with Hadulu — said to be the heroine of the 
tale — but without success. 

This woman belonged to the Buu tribe,” who now occupy 
the country round Ngao, about thirty miles from the sea. 
According to the narrator, at the time when these events took 
place —- which we may put at from fifty to seventy years 
ago — they were sunk in degradation and wickedness, chiefly 
owing to their drinking habits. They used to make intoxicat- 
ing liquor from the juice of a species of Borassus palm (mu- 
hafa), which produces edible fruit; and besides the other evils 
arising directly from drunkenness, they killed so many palms 
by persistent tapping, that the food supply was sensibly 

Now a certain man named Mpembe, living at Sambae, was 
one day visited by a white man, dressed in a long white gar- 
ment; his hair, also, was long, like that of a European woman. 
He told Mpembe, who was a man of influence and standing, 
being a member of the witch-doctors’ guild, that he should ex- 
hort his countrymen to leave off their sinful practices. 
Mpembe obeyed, and with some apparent result, as the people, 
though inclined to scoff at first, became frightened and effected 


an ostensible reformation, though many of them continued in 
secret to act as they had done heretofore. The stranger there- 
upon visited Mpembe a second time and sharply rebuked him, 
in so much that he nearly died of fright. 

One day, about this time, three young girls were out watch- 
ing the rice-fields, to drive away the birds from the ripening 
crops. One of them belonged to the Buu tribe, and her 
companions to the neighbouring tribes of Ngatana and Kalindi. 
One day, when the birds were less troublesome than usual, 
they left their posts to pick up firewood in the forest and saw 
the white-clad stranger — his figure surrounded by a mysteri- 
ous radiance — standing among the trees. They were terri- 
fied and ran back to the rice-field, crouching down to hide 
themselves in the standing grain. But, when they ventured to 
look again, they saw him coming nearer — the nimbus which 
surrounded him growing brighter all the time — till he stood 
under a muhafa palm, when he bowed himself to the ground, 
and they heard him say: “Amen! amen! the people cry, 
‘Hunger! hunger! hunger! ? Yet I have given you the fruit 
of the mukindu and of the muhafa and of the mukoma, to 
eat thereof, but ye have wasted and destroyed them through 
your sin.” He had a long staff in his hand with which he 
struck the trunk of the palm again and again, and at every 
blow some of the leaves fell, till at last it was quite bare. 
Except for the word “ Amen,” which, of course, was unknown 
to the girls, he spoke in their own language. He then addressed 
them as follows: “I have done this that you may tell your 
people of it and warn them that, if they go on spoiling the trees 
and refuse to give up their other sins, I shall do terrible things 
among them! At such and such a place I saw a drunkard who 
had climbed a palm; I said to him: ‘Come down! ’ but he 
only mocked at me. I touched him with my staff, and he fell 
dead. Tell your people to go and fetch his body, and let this 
evil-doing cease out of the land! ” 


Presently there arose a terrible tempest: the wind beat down 
the rice in which the girls had hidden themselves and even 
threw them to the ground, and they saw the stranger rise into 
the air and disappear among the clouds. 

At the same time, Mpembe, at home in his village, received 
some supernatural intimation which caused him to tell the 
people that the stranger of whom he had spoken to them 
had appeared to three girls in the rice-field, and that their 
friends ought to go and look for them, as they would be 
helpless with terror. They went and found that it was as he 
had said, and heard the whole story from the girls. 

However, the warning had no lasting effect. The Wabuu 
failed to mend their ways, and the stranger’s words were ful- 
filled, for some time after this, the Tana changed its course 
(as it seems to have done several times previously) and the 
Buu tribe were forced to leave the fertile bottom-lands, which 
ceased to be productive when no longer periodically flooded by 
the river. Then, too, the muhafa palms died throughout their 
country, and they were not only deprived of the intoxicating 
drink in which they were wont to indulge, but of the fruit 
which they might legitimately have used. The narrator then 
goes on to describe the present distribution of the tribes repre- 
sented by the three maidens and the first introduction of 

It is possible — as suggested by the missionaries at Ngao — 
that some wandering friar, of whom all record is lost, may have 
penetrated the Tana forests about the middle of last century. 
But an examination of the story makes it more probable that 
we have here a product of the myth-making fancy, under the 
influence of Christian teaching, projected backwards to a 
period long before the establishment of the Neukirchen 
mission in 1887. 

It is interesting to compare with this a Chaga tradition (un- 
fortunately somewhat vague and scanty) reported by Gut- 


mann. At a not very distant period — “ the first Europeans 
had already come to us ” — was seen the apparition of a light- 
complexioned man floating through the air at high noon. He 
had a bell in either hand and cried aloud: 

“ Pay every debt thou owest to thy brother! 

If thou hast an ox of his, restore it. 

If thou hast a goat of his, restore it. 
The King commands it! 

Let every stranger in the land return to his home. 

Every child kept in pawn ye shall set free. 

Cease from deeds of violence, break the spear! 
The King commands it! ” 

At sunset he appeared again and was seen in different places, 
but never touched the earth. The Chief of Moshi heard of 
him and ordered his men to keep on the lookout. But, 
though they sat gazing at the sky till driven indoors by the 
chill of the evening, they never saw him again. 

Another example of a recent —or at all events highly 
modernised — story from the same region is that of the fight 
with the pool already mentioned in Chapter IV.* 

Turning from indigenous myths of recent origin to those 
which can be set down with tolerable certainty as introduced 
from without, we are confronted by some very interesting 
problems of diffusion. Where Arab influence has extended, 
we may expect to find Moslem traditions; and such legends 
may be found more or less naturalised in the folk-lore of 
the Swahili, the Hausa, and various peoples in the Eastern 
and Western Sudan.° The tales of the Arabian Nights, too, 
are widely current in East Africa, whether originally imported 
in a literary form, or by purely oral transmission, it is hard 
to say, but I am inclined to the latter supposition, judging 
from the number of stories one hears (casually told by cara- 
van porters and other quite illiterate people) which, though of 
the same general character, are not to be found in that collection 


and no doubt belong to the great mass of floating tradition of 
which only a small part has been reduced to literary form in 
the Nights. 

India, too, has contributed, directly and indirectly, to the 
folklore of East Africa. The story of the “ The Washerman’s 
Donkey ” ° has been traced to the Sumsumara Jataka and that 
of “The Heaps of Gold” to the Vedabbha Jataka, though 
it has been derived through a Persian channel.’ A version of 
the “ Merchant of Venice ” was related to me in Swahili by 
a Pokomo, as told to him by an Indian at Kipini who, he 
supposed, had “ got it out of some book of his own.” * 

The stories of Abu Nuwas have already been referred to 
as, in some cases, mixed up with those of the Hare. They 
are not to be found in the Arabian Nights, but seem to be a 
common property of Arabic-speaking story-tellers and are 
contained in a chap-book circulating in Syria.” Some of his 
adventures are identical with those of Khoja Nasreddin, the 
famous Turkish jester, but not necessarily derived from them. 
There are also points of contact with the Arab and Berber Si 
Joha (Jeha). Abu Nuwas was a real person, a poet and 
humorist who lived (a.p.762—815) at the court of Harun-al- 
Rashid and — like Theodore Hook and others — gained such 
a reputation for wit and whimsicality as to attract to himself all 
the anonymous good things of his own day, as well as those cur- 
rent before and since. Some of his repartees are really humour- 
ous, but his specialty lies in practical jokes, and, according to 
the legend, he became such a nuisance that Harun-al-Rashid 
and Jaafar resorted to every possible stratagem to get rid 
of him. These stratagems and the expedients whereby he 
defeats them sometimes, in Africa, coincide more or less with 
the more primitive Hubeane and Kalikalanje cycles; and we 
have seen how his name, Banawasi, has become a common noun, 
denoting a clever, resourceful person, or even an epithet for 
the Hare. Harun becomes, vaguely, “the Sultan,” or “ the 


Chief ?? — though in some Swahili versions his name and that 
of Jaafar are preserved, —and at Delagoa Bay, he is even 
localised into the Portuguese Governor of Mozambique.” A 
favourite incident is that of his being ordered, by the Caliph 
or the Governor, to build a house in the air. He sends up a 
large kite with bells attached to it and, calling attention to the 
sound which, he says, is that of the workmen’s hammers, he asks 
for stones and lime to be sent up. This being declared im- 
possible, he is absolved from his share of the contract. 

Again, when the Sultan has ordered his house to be burnt 
down, he appears resigned to his fate and only begs leave to 
take away the ashes in a sack. These he sells to the Portuguese 
(a people, in the narrator’s view, very easily gulled) for 
their weight in silver, making them believe that the sack con- 
tains valuable presents which he is taking to their king. Com- 
ing back with the price, he reports that there is a wonderful 
market for ashes in the Portuguese possessions; consequently 
the Sultan and all the townspeople burn their houses down and 
load seven ships with the result. These fall in with a Portu- 
guese squadron on its way to avenge the trick; the ships are 
sunk and only a few of those on board escape by swimming. 
The Sultan seeks for Abu Nuwas, to have him killed, but he is 
nowhere to be found.” 

Yet in spite of this, he shortly afterwards cheats a differ- 
ent set of Portuguese and induces the Sultan to kill all his 
cattle in order to sell the hides and bones at fabulous prices. 
He is then thrown into a lion’s den, but tells the lion that the 
Sultan has sent him to scratch him whenever his hide feels 
uneasy. The beast is so pleased with this delicate attention 
that he does Abu Nuwas no harm. 

One of the jests common to Si Joha,’* Nasreddin and Abu 
Nuwas is that of the borrowed saucepan, returned with a 
small one, because it has produced a young one in the interval. 
On the next occasion, the lender is more than willing, hoping 


to get his own back with interest a second time — but the 
saucepan never returns, the borrower explaining that it is 

Anecdotes of Joha were told me at Lamu: they were chiefly 
of the Eulenspiegel kind and evidently derived from Arab 
sources. The one I remember best tells how when his mother 
desires him to “ mind the door,” he takes it off the hinges and 
carries it on his back.** Other jests of a somewhat similar 
nature are related at Lamu as taking place at the neighbouring 
town of Shela, the local equivalent of Abdera, Gotham, the 
German Schilda or the French Saint-Maixent. In one of these, 
a hunter, having taken a bush-buck out of a trap and being 
in too great a hurry to slaughter it ritually, lets it go, charging 
it with a message to his wife. The Berbers tell a somewhat 
similar story of Si Jeha,”* but give it quite a different turn. 
Si Jeha had caught three hares and, one day, when expecting 
some visitors, gave two to his mother, telling her to kill and 
cook one and keep the other in a corner of the house. The 
third he took with him to the fields. When the guests, 
directed by his mother, joined him there, he let the hare go, 
bidding it go and tell the mistress that it was to be killed for 
breakfast. Seeing the men’s astonishment, he told them that 
he had two wonderful hares, of which one always returned 
to life when the other was killed; and, in proof of this, when 
they reached home he showed them the live hare in the corner. 
The distribution of these drolleries, and their relation to the 
native African tales of Hubeane, etc., might well form the 
subject of a separate volume. 

At Mambrui, in 1912, an old lady named Mwana Mbeu 
binti Sadiki, a native of Shela and said to be aged 116 (though 
this I doubt), told me the following story. Unfortunately, 
I could not take it down word for word in the original Swahili, 
but I wrote out the substance of it soon afterwards: 

A childless couple consulted a soothsayer, who told them 


that they would have a son if they followed his directions 
(not recorded); but he would turn out a spendthrift. The 
son was born in due course, and they gave him a good educa- 
tion, but by the time he had completed his university career 
their whole property was consumed. Having absolutely 
nothing left, they proposed to sell him, but he (taking the same 
line as Admetus with his parents) pointed out that it would be 
more to the point for him to sell them. More submissive than 
the Greek couple, they agreed, and he disposed of them in re- 
turn for clothes, a sword, a dagger, and a horse, and rode off. 
On the way he fell in with a man carrying to the Sultan of the 
next town a letter containing orders to kill the bearer on arrival. 
(The reason of this was not made clear: the man was described 
as a fisadi — a waster, or general bad character.) The messen- 
ger handed over this letter to the young man, who agreed to 
deliver it and put it into his turban for safety. Proceeding on 
his journey, he found himself crossing a waterless desert 
and was nearly dead with hunger and thirst when at last 
he came to a well near which lay a dead ewe. There was 
neither rope nor vessel of any kind at the well, but he unwound 
his turban, forgetting all about the letter fastened into its 
folds, lowered it into the well and sucked the water from it 
after drawing it up. Finding the letter soaked, he spread it 
out to dry, became acquainted with its contents, and destroyed 
it. He cut open the carcase of the ewe, found that the lamb to 
which she had been about to give birth was alive, killed, 
roasted, and ate it. Then he journeyed on and at length 
reached a country where the Sultan’s daughter had announced 
that she would only consent to marry the man who could 
beat her at chess— unsuccessful competitors to lose their 
heads. The youth presented himself, played and won. He 
was then required to enter on a further contest and to guess 
riddles proposed by. the princess. (The game of chess may be 
due to confusion with another story, as there is no previous 

SE i 

356 AFRICAN © 
that they would have a soa if a ay his ‘diction 

{not recorded); but he would turn out @ spendthrift. The 

gon was born in due course, and they gave him a good educa- 
tion, but by the tome he had completed his university career — 
their whole property was consumed. . Having absolutely 

nothing i att , trey proposed to sell him, but he (taking the same 
line as Admetus with his parents) pointed.out that it would be 
more to the point for ‘him to sell them. More submissive than 
the Greek couple, they agreed, and he disposed of them in re- 
turn lothes, a sword, a dagger, and a horse, and rode oH, 
On the way he Eels in with a mas casrying te the Seltsigk the 
ext town a letter containing ¢ orders to kill the bearer on arrival, — 
reason fa is was not made clear: the man was described e 
ei ter to the young man, wheel ad to 
| Baxre, AER or RARER, Procell ae “ 

2. oss pen BE i jyaterless desert 
with Pepsi and thirst when at last ae 

near which lay a dead ewe, There wae = 
vessel of any kind at the well, but he unwound 
retting all about the letter fastened into its oe 
nto the well and sucked the water from i : 
up. Finding the letter soaked, Re spread it - 

me acquainted with its contents, « — 
the carcase of the ewe, found that the lamb to. - 

en about to give birth was alive, » ue, 

ate it. Then he journeyed on and at Tengen: 

‘try where the Sultan’s daughter had announced = 

4 only consent to marry the man who could 

r at a a competitors to lose: their 

heads. The 3 } nail presented himself, played and won. He 
was then required to enter on a further contest and to guess 
riddies proposed by. the princess. (The game of chess may be 
jue to confusion with another story, as there is no previous 


hint of ¢wo contests.) He guesses all hers and then defeats 
her by asking: “ Who is it who wore his father, rode his 
mother, ate the food of the dead ” (it should rather be “ ate 
of that which was never born”) “and drank the water of 
death? ” Here the story, as told to me, ended with the mar- 
riage of the youth and the princess. 

Parts of it struck me at the time as vaguely familiar, yet I 
could not place it, nor could I, for some years after, discover 
anything analogous to it, till I happened to re-read Hindes 
Groome’s Gypsy Folk Lore ** and found that Mwana Mbeu’s 
tale is substantially identical with the Turkish Gypsy story of 
“The Riddle,” though the conclusion of the latter —in 
which the princess gets at the story by unfair means — is 
wanting. The editor says: “ When I translated this story I 
deemed it unique, though the Bellerophon letter is a familiar 
feature in Indian and European folk-tales, and so too is the 
princess who guesses or propounds riddles... . Now, ... I 
find it is largely identical with Campbell’s West Highland tale, 
‘The Knight of Riddles,’ No. 22 (ii, p. 36), with which cf. 
Grimm’s ‘ The Riddle,’ No. 22.”*7 But in both these, as well 
as in the further variants cited by Kohler and others, the 
riddle is different, whereas the Turkish Gypsy version is very 
nearly the same as Mwana Mbeu’s; it also occurs in a Russian 
tale. Otherwise the European versions differ greatly from 
it and sometimes from each other; but an Arab enigma runs as 
follows: “Who is he who rode on his mother, armed with 
his father, and drank, water neither of the earth nor the sky, 
while he carried death on his head? ” ** 

On the whole, it seems most likely that the original home 
of the tale, in this form, is Arabia, whence the Gypsies carried 
it to Europe. 

From the point of view of the diffusion of folk-tales, five 
stories grouped by Junod as “ Contes Etrangers” *® are ex- 
tremely interesting. One of these, “ Bonaouaci”? (= Abu 


Nuwas) has already been noticed. The adventures of Djiwao 
(Joao) are a mixture of exotic and native elements. The 
former are to be sought rather in the East than in the West, 
though there may be some European touches. We are re- 
minded of three different tales to be found in Swahili: Sultan 
Darai (the episode of the enchanted castle and the serpent — 
here replaced by Sakatabela, a white woman with seven heads), 
Sultan Majnun (the “ Nunda, eater of people ”), and Kiba- 
raka (the magic horse which delivers the hero).** The end 
of the tale brings in the old trick of Hlakanyana boiling the 
mother of the cannibals; but the victim in this case is Gwanazi, 
chief of Maputa — who, by the bye, was still living when the 
story was taken down. 

Only one of these tales seems to be distinctly European, 
“ Ta fille du roi,” which, the narrator said, her informants had 
heard in Portuguese from some of the Europeans for whom 
they worked at Lourenco Marques. It is Grimm’s “ The Shoes 
that were Danced to Pieces,” of which at least one Portuguese 
version has been recorded.”” A few Portuguese stories have 
found their way to Angola ** —if anything, it is rather sur- 
prising that there are no more. 

But one of the most remarkable instances of diffusion is 
the story given by Junod under the title “‘ Les Trois Vaisseaux.” 
A “white man ”” has three sons, all of whom, unknown to 
their father and to each other, are in love with the same girl. 
Each asks his father for a ship and all three set out on a 
trading voyage —so thoroughly has the tale been localised 
that we are told the names of the three districts near Delagoa 
Bay where each of them landed in order to sell his goods. An 
old woman persuades the eldest to buy an old, broken basket, 
which has the properties of the magic carpet; while she sells 
to the second a magic mirror, and to the third a powder which 
will restore the dead to life. They see in the mirror that the 
girl with whom they are in love is dead and being laid out; the 


eldest brother transports all three back in a twinkling by means 
of the basket, and the third resuscitates the maiden. The ques- 
tion now is who had the greatest share in saving her life, and 
consequently who shall marry her — and, in this version, it 
is left undecided. 

A Yao version, “ The Story of a Chief,” obtained in Nyasa- 
land some twenty years ago,” is altered almost beyond recog- 
nition and has lost much of its exotic character; moreover, the 
point is somewhat obscured by the statement that it is a man 
who has been brought back to life and whom, consequently, each 
of the brothers claims as his slave.” 

I cannot help thinking that this belongs to the class of legal 
problem stories, where the audience is sometimes expected to 
supply the conclusion,” and that in the genuine form no deci- 
sion is reached. It is found (with an unsatisfactory decision) 
on the Kru coast,” and bears a certain resemblance to the 
Congo “ How the Wives Restored their Husband to Life ”,”’ 
which may, however, be quite independent. Here, the women 
agree to settle the matter in this way: “‘ Let us each cook a 
pot of food, and take it to him as soon as he can eat; and let 
him decide out of which pot he will take his first meal! ” He 
decided in favor of the one who actually revived him, “ and 
the majority of the people said he was right in his judgment; 
but the women round about said he should have put the food 
out of the three pots into one pot, and have eaten the food thus 

The foregoing is only a hasty survey of a few outstanding 
points in what might well be a separate field of investigation. 
It is subsidiary to the main purpose of this book, but some 
notice of it is necessary in a comprehensive view of the subject. 


pe elias a % 


I. VAHAGN (Sez Cuap. V, p. 42). 

HE conclusion that Vahagn was Agni, i.e., a fire-god in its 
different aspects, is difficult to escape. But what does his name 
mean? Windischmann, followed by Lagarde and Hiibschmann, iden- 
tified him with the Iranian Verethraghna, a genius of victory, on the 
basis of the slight resemblance between the two names and of the 
fact that Vahagn grants courage to his worshippers. Moreover, both 
Vahagn and Verethraghna were identified by ancient Hellenizers with 

Windischmann’s view is untenable, not only because Verethraghna 
is represented in Armenia by other more unmistakable names, but 
also because the Vahagn myths have nothing in common with the 
Avestic Verethraghna, although as we have seen, both gods were 
identical in pre-Vedic and pre-Avestic times. Windischmann’s view on 
this matter has so completely dominated Western scholars that no 
one has bestowed any thought on the Vahagn myths which we have 
just examined. It is true that the Avestic Verethraghna was also 
born in an ocean. But he does not fight against dragons nor is he 
closely associated with fire. (The dragon fighters of Iran are Atar, 
the fire, Tishtrya, the rain-star which conquers Apaosha, the Iranian 
genius of drought, Thretona, and Keresaspa.) Although, as has 
been noticed by Avestic scholars like Lehmann, Jackson, and Carnoy, 
the only tangible traits of Verethraghna remind us of Indra, the 
individuality of his figure and of his activities is not so sharply defined 
as those of Vahagn or of Indra. 

Moreover, it is very difficult to derive the name of Vahagn from 
Verethraghna. How did the strong “r’s” of “ Verethra” become 
entirely lost in a language that revels in r’s, while the very weak aghn 
survived? Granting even that this is what happened, what is the 
place of Vahagn among such forms of Verethraghna’s name as Vrtan 
(perhaps also Vardan), Vahram, and Vram, which occur in Armenia? 

For these reasons, as well as his manifest connection with the fire, 
it seems best to consider Vahagn’s name as a compound of Vah and 
Agni. By some Sanscrit scholars this has been interpreted as Fire- 
bringer. The sacrificial Agni is called in the Vedas havya-vah or 


havya-vahana (Macdonell, p. 97). But Vah must have meant some- 
thing else than “a bringer” to the old Armenians. It is interesting 
to note that all the names and adjectives derived from Vahagn use 
only the first syllable as if it were a divine name by itself. His temple 
was called the Vahevahyan temple. His priests were known as Va- 
hunis or Vahnunis. Men claiming descent from Vahagn were often 
called Vahe, Vahan, and Van —a corruption of Vahan. Wackernagel 
(quoted by Gelzer) suggests that at his rites or mysteries, the en- 
thused worshipper must have shouted “ Vahe’vah,” as at weddings 
Greeks shouted dpevjuos! for tiugv. The resemblance would perhaps 
have been more striking if he had cited the case of caBor for caBdhus 
in the Dionysia. 

If there is anything in the classical testimonies bearing upon the 
kinship of the Armenians with the Thracian races, and in particular 
with the Phrygians, one might set the ancient Phrygian satyr or rather 
god Hyagnis beside Vahagn. (See on Hyagnis, La Grande Encyclo- 
pédie and Pauly-Wissowa, s.v.) At first glance the similarity 
between the two names is just as striking as that between the Vedic and 
Avestic Indra, or the Vedic Nasatya and the Avestic Naonhaithya. 
What is more, just as “‘ Vahagn,” “‘ Hyagnis”’ (the supposed father 
and perhaps the duplicate of Marsyas) also is a compound word, for 
both Agnis and #ys occur alone. Agnis stands for Hyagnis in the 
Mosaic of Monnus (Pauly-Wissowa, loc. cit.) and tys or tas is 
confessedly a Phrygian god. Both Aristophanes and the Assyrians 
knew him as such. It would seem that at the stage of development 
in which we meet with Hyagnis and Marsyas in Phrygian mythology, 
they had become divested of their original character in favor of 
the all-victorious Sabazios or Dionysos, becoming mere flute-players 
and musical inventors who adorned his procession. But the original 
relation of Hyagnis to the fire can be legitimately inferred from his 
transparent name, and Marsyas’ interest in the fertilizing rivers is a 
commonplace of classical mythology and geography. It is not unlikely 
that some representation of Hyagnis with reeds as his symbol gave 
rise to the misapprehension that he was an inventor of the flute and 
other allied musical instruments. For the Greek the flute was Phrygian 
and every reed suggested a flute. The Vah of Vahagn and the ys 
of Hyagnis are identical with bys used as a name or title of Diony- 
sos. When we consider the fact that the Greek uv was bilabial, then 
we can easily see how a wv could change into a 4, But we may 
observe the same phenomenon between other cognate languages; for 
example, the Greek éomépa appears as vespera in Latin. One may 
even say that between the different members of the Thracian family 
hand v interchanged freely. So the Phrygian word for bread given by 


Herodotus as Bexos is hatz in Armenian. The Greeks usually, and 
not without some foundation, associated this word dys, “ Hyas,” 
with their dew, “to rain.’ In fact Vah and Hyas must be brought 
together with Vayu, the air and weather god of the Vedas (and of 
the Avesta) and the other self of Indra. According to Darmesteter, 
the Avestic Vayu fights on the side of Mithra against the Devas by 
means of the tempest. We may even compare the Zoroastrian Vae 
i vah (“‘ the good Vayu”) with the Armenian Vahevah mentioned 
above, and conclude that the resemblance is not fortuitous. On the 
other hand the Armenian word aud, “ air,” “ weather,” adequately 
represents the Vedic and Avestic Vata, which, according to Macdonell, 
is Vayu in its physical aspect. 

The inevitable inference is that Vahagn-Hyagnis was originally a 
lightning god with special reference to weather and to rain, very much 
like the water-born Agni or the Apam Napat as well as the Lithuanian 
Sventa Ugnele (Holy Fire) who bears the title of Visiya, “ the fruit 
bringer” or “increase giver” (ARW i. 368), which is a clear refer- 
ence to his relation to the rain. 

A. von Gutschmid finds that the Armenian legend about St. Athe- 
nogene, who took the place of Vahagn in Ashtishat, has a peculiar 
relation to game and hunting, From this he has inferred that among 
other things Vahagn was the patron of game and hunting. This 
theory finds a partial confirmation in Adiabene, southeast of Arme- 
nia, where Herakles was adored and invoked as the god of the hunters. 
(Gutschmid, iii. 414.) This Herakles may be Vahagn, but more 
probably it is Verethraghna, whose worship also has spread westward. 

Moses tells us that Vahagn was worshipped in Iberia also and 
sacrifices were offered before his large statue. (i. 31.) A euhe- 
merized but very interesting form of the Agni myth is found 
in the Heimskringla, or chronicles of the kings of Norway, by 
Snorro Sturleson (see English translation by Sam. Laing, London, 
1844, i. 33 f.). Agne (fire) is the son of King Dag (day), who was 
slain in his ship in the evening. Agne overcomes the Finnish chief 
Froste (cold) in a battle and captures his son Loge (Luke, Lewk? ) 
and his daughter Skialf (“shivering”). The latter, whom Agne 
had married, contrived to avenge the death of her father in the 
following manner: Agne, on her own instance, gave a burial 
feast in honor of her father, and having drunk copiously, fell asleep. 
Thereupon she attached a noose to the golden ornament about his neck, 
the tent was pulled down, and Agne was dragged out, hauled up, 
and hanged close to the branches of a tree. He was buried in 

According to this naturalistic myth, fire is related to the day and 


therefore to the sun. It conquers the cold and is conquered in turn 
by it, and being extinguished, it returns to the tree (its mother? ). 
This is another echo of the ancient fire-myths. 

Il. WITCHCRAFT AND MAGIC (See Cuap. VI, p. 48). 

The ancient Armenians were much given to witchcraft and 
divination. John Mantaguni (5th century) mentions no less than 
twenty-five forms of magical practices. Eznik’s short notices on 
bringing down the moon remind us of the same practice among the 
Thessalians, so often spoken of by Latin writers, such as Apuleius, 
Horace, Petronius, etc. Horace says: 

Non defuisse masculae libidinis 
Ariminensem Foliam 

Et otiosa credidit Neapolis 
Et omne vicinum oppidum 

Quae sidera excantata voce Thessala 
Lunamque coelo deripit. 

This was a most difficult feat performed by the witch, either as 
an expression of anger or as an exhibition of great skill. 

Bringing down the moon is found in Chinese encyclopedias as 
a favorite trick of ‘Taoist doctors. The following quotations 
were furnished by Prof. Hodous of the Kennedy School of Missions, 
Hartford, Conn.: 

According to the Hsiian Shih Chi, written during the T’ang dynasty, 
“Tn the T’ang dynasty in the reign of T’ai Ho (827-836 a.p.) 
a certain scholar named Chow possessed a Taoist trick. At the mid- 
autumn festival he met with his guests. At the time the moon was 
very bright. He said to his guests when they were seated, ‘I am 
able to cut off the moon and place it into my sleeve.’ In order to do 
this he commanded them to empty the room. He took several hundred 
chopsticks, tied them with a string, and mounted them saying, ‘I 
am about to climb up and take the moon.’ Suddenly they noticed 
that heaven and earth were darkened. ‘Then he opened the room and 
said, ‘ The moon is in the dress of Mr. N. N.’ Then with his 
hand he raised the dress. Out of a fold of the dress there came out 
a moon over an inch in diameter. Suddenly the whole house was very 
bright and the cold penetrated the muscles and bones.” 

The Yu Yang Tsa Tsu, written towards the end of the eighth 
century, records another instance: “‘ In the beginning of the reign of 


Ch’ang K’ing (821-825 a.p.) a hermit called Yang was in Tch’eu 
Chow (Hunan). It was his custom to seek out those who were search- 
ing after the Tao. ‘There was a local scholar called T’ang. ‘The 
natives called him a man a hundred years old. Yang went to him 
and he persuaded him to stop a night. When night came he called 
a girl saying: ‘ Bring the last quarter of the moon.’ The girl pasted 
a piece of paper like the moon on the wall. ‘T’ang arose and bowed 
to it saying: ‘ Tonight there is a guest here, you should give him 
light.’ When he finished speaking the whole house was as bright 
as if he had hung up candles.” 

It is suggested that the magicians performed this wonder by means 
of mirrors. 

Armenian magical texts of a later date tell us that the sorcerers 
climbed up a ladder of hair to tie the moon to the mountain top and 
the sun to its mother! 

(SEE Cuap. X, p. 68). 

In the Néldeke Festschrift, Lehmann-Haupt has shown that the 
Assyrian queen Sammuramat (fl.c. 800 B.c.), probably a Babylonian 
by birth, is the historical figure about whom the legendary story of 
Semiramis has gathered. But this does not account for the fact 
that the Semiramis of legend has characteristics which unmistakably 
belong to the goddess Istar, and that in the story, as Ctesias tells it, she 
is connected with north Syria, the seat, in Graeco-Roman times, 
of the worship of the Syrian (= Assyrian) goddess. Yet a third 
factor in the legend (cf. A. Ungnad, OLZ [1911], 388), seems 
to be a reminiscence of the very ancient Babylonian queen Azag-Bau, 
who is said to have founded the dynasty of Kis. 

The Semiramis of Herodotus (i. 184) is clearly the historical 
Sammuramat; in Ctesias, the supernatural birth of the great queen 
and her disappearance from the earth in the form of a dove (Assyr. 
Summu) is just as unmistakably mythological; yet a third version 
of the story, that of Deinon (Aelian, vii. 1, i), according to which 
Semiramis is a hetaera, who having won the affections of King Ninus, 
asks leave to rule for five days, and when once she is in possession of 
the government puts the king to death, is pure folklore. Yet Deinon’s 
account reminds us of Azag-Bau, for Babylonian tradition made the 
latter “a female liquor-seller” —in so far corresponding to the 
Greek hetaera, and in the omen-tablets we read: ‘‘ When a child is 
bisexual, that is an omen of Azag-Bau, who ruled over the land.” 


This idea underlies the version adopted by Ctesias: ‘‘ Ein Mannweib, 
die Semiramis, hatte das Reich gegrundet; ein weibischer Mann (the 
legendary Sardanapalus) brachte es ins Verderben ” (Duncker, Gesch. 
des Altertums, iii. p. 353). 

The mutual relationship of the three chief variants of the story 
would be explained, if we suppose that Sammuramat was originally 
an epithet of the goddess Istar, or possibly of the primeval queen 
Azag-Bau; compare the Gilgamesh Epic, vi. 13, where [Star says to 
the hero: ‘‘ Thou shalt enter into our dwelling amid the sweet odors 
(sammati) of cedar-wood.” Semiramis would then mean “ fond of 
sweet odors.” There is, however, another etymology, which is also 
of ancient date, swmmu ramat, “ fond of the dove,” the dove being 
the sacred bird of Ishtar (Diodorus, ii. 4). See Alfred Jeremias, 
Izdubar-Nimrod, pp. 68-70. 


The Armenians ascribed the Urartian works in Van, especially a 
mighty dam, to Semiramis’ building activities. She is supposed to have 
chosen that city as her summer residence. “The saga reported that she 
died in Armenia. As she was pursued by her armed enemies, she 
fled afoot, but being exceedingly thirsty she stooped to drink water 
(from a source) when she was overtaken by her enemies. How she 
died is not clear, but the sagas spoke of the enchanting of the sea, 
and of the beads (?) of Shamiram in the sea. There was also a stone 
called Shamiram, which, according to Moses, was prior to the rock 
of the weeping Niobe. ‘Those who are acquainted with the classical 
form of the Semiramis legend will easily perceive how the Armenians 
have appropriated the details about her building palaces and water- 
canals in Media and her death in India. 

See also on Semiramis, Lenormant, La Légende de Semiramis, 
Brussels [1873]; Sayce, “The Legend of Semiramis,” Hist. Rev., 
1888; Art. “Semiramis” in EBr gth and 11th ed; Frazer, GB’, 
iii, 161 ff.; Uhlrich Wilcken, Hermes, xxviii [1893], 161 ff., 187 ff.; 
F. Hommel, Gesch. Bab. u. Assyr., Berlin [1885], pp. 630-632; 
C. F. Lehmann-Haupt in Néldeke Festschrift. .For the Assyrian 
text see Walter Andrae, Die Stehlenreihen in Assur, Leipzig [1913], 
p. 11, and compare Lehmann-Haupt, Die historische Semiramis und 
ihre Zeit, Tiibingen [1910]. 


IV. THE CYCLOPS (Sree Cuap. XI, p. 85). 

The Cyclops, and especially Polyphemos, are to be found every- 
where in Europe and Asia (see e.g. W. C. Grimm, “ Die 
Sage von Polyphem,” ABAW, 1857, p. 1 ff.; J. and W. Grimm, 
Kinder und Hausmiarchen, No. 130; W. R. S. Ralston, Russian 
Folk Tales, London, 1873, ch. iii; Herodotus, on the Arimaspians, 
iv. 27; G. Krek, Einleitung in die Slavische Litteraturgeschichte ° ; 
Graz, 1887, pp. 665-759; G. Polivka, “ Nachtrage zur Polyphem- 
sage,” ARW i. [1898] 305 f.). The black giant whom Sinbad the 
Sailor, Odysseus-like, blinded on his third voyage, is well known to 
readers of the Arabian Nights. Polyphemos appears also in Russian 
folk-lore, with the name of Licko, with the sheep under which his 
tormentor escapes, and with his cry, “ No man has done it,” while 
he is bewailing his lost eye. It is perfectly evident that certain im- 
portant details, such as the one single round eye and the burning of 
it, have disappeared from the rationalizing and short Armenian ac- 
count. The modern descendants of the Cyclops in Armenia are one- 
eyed beings, who are either gigantic devils or a monstrous race living 
in caves. Each individual weighs a hundred times more than a human 
being. In the day-time they sit on their roofs in wait for travellers, 
animals, birds, jinn, monsters, whom they may devour. When nothing 
comes they procure a whole village for their dinner. For other 
versions of the Cyclops story, see J. A. MacCulloch, The Childhood of 
Fiction, London, 1905, Chap. 10. 

V. THE AL (See Cuap. XI, p. 88). 

A magical text of uncertain date says: “St. Peter, St. Paul and 
Silas while they were travelling, saw on the roadside a man sitting 
on the sand. His hair was like snakes, his eyebrows were of brass, 
his eyes were of glass, his face was as white as snow, his teeth were 
of iron, and he had a tusk like a wild boar. They asked him: ‘ What 
art thou, impure, accursed and awful beast, etc.? . . .? He answered: 
“Iam the wicked 4/. I sit upon the child-bearing mother, I scorch her 
ears and pull out her liver (?) and I strangle both mother and child. 
Our food is the flesh of little children and the liver (?) of mothers 
with child. We steal the unborn infants of eight months from 
the mother and we carry them, deaf and dumb, to our King. The 
abyss, the corners of the houses and of stables are our habitation.’ ” 

Another magical text says: St. Sisi (Sisoe) and St Sisiane (Sisinnios), 
St. Noviel and the angel St. Padsiel had gone a-hunting with the 


permission of Christ. ‘They heard the cry of an infant and going 
in its direction, they surprised the 4/ in its evil work. They caught 
him and bound him to the Al-stone. ‘Thereupon came the mother 
of the Al and they said: “ What does it mean that you enter the 
womb of mothers, eat the flesh and drink the blood of infants and 
change the light of their eyes into darkness, etc.” 


Mher was the son of the Hero David. While avenging his father, 
he sees before him an open door which he enters with his fiery horse 
and the door closes behind him. Ever since that day Mher lives in 
that cave. The underground river Gail (Lukos) flows under the 
cave with a terrible rumbling. Once a year (either on the festival 
of Roses, originally a fire and water festival, or in the night of the 
ascension identified with the night of destinies) Mher’s door is opened. 
Anyone near-by enters and is led by Mher to his great treasures, where 
the poor man forgetting himself allows the door to be closed upon him. 
Some day Mher will come out of the cave, mounted on his fiery horse, 
to punish the enemies of his people. ‘That will be the dies irae for 
which the Armenians of the Van region wait with impatience. 


Moses of Kalankata, in his history of Albania (in Armenian, 
pp. 39-42), describes a sect of “ finger-cutters” which has un- 
mistakable affinities with devil-worship and witchcraft. Vatcha- 
kan, the King of Albania in the last quarter of the 5th Century, 
was a zealous persecutor of all heresies and of heathen practices. 
He was especially endeavoring to uproot the “finger-cutters,’ when 
a boy came to him with the report that while he was crossing the pine- 
woods on the bank of the River Cyr, he saw that a multitude of 
people had stretched a boy on the ground, and having bound him to 
four pegs by his thumbs and large toes, they flayed him alive. As 
they descried the stranger, they pursued him in order to use him also 
as a victim; but he fled from them, and leaping into the river swam 
to an islet where he climbed a tree, and, unseen by his pursuers, he 
observed the whole procedure, but more particularly those who partici- 
pated in this bloody rite. These he denounced to the King by name. 
They were arrested by his command and put to torture, but no con- 
fession could be extorted from them. As they were all being led to 
the place of execution, the King singled out a young man among 


them, and through the promise of life and freedom, finally induced 
him to confess what took place at the secret gatherings. 

The following is the testimony given by this young man: “ The 
devil comes in the form of a man and commands the people to stand 
in three groups. One of these (?) must hold the victim without 
wounding or slaying him. ‘The whole skin is taken off along with 
the thumb of the right hand and carried over across the chest to the 
little finger of the left hand, which is also cut off and taken along. 
The same process is repeated on the feet, while the victim is alive. 
Thereupon he is put to death; the skin is freed from the body, 
prepared and laid in a basket. When the time of the evil worship 
arrives, they make (set up?) a folding chair of iron (sic!) with 
feet which closely resemble the feet of that man (or the feet of 
man?). They place a precious garment on the chair. The devil 
comes, puts on this garment and sits on the chair and having taken the 
skin of the human sacrifice along with the fingers, he is seen (becomes 
visible? ). If they are unable to bring him the customary tribute 
[of a human skin], he commands them to peel off the bark of a tree. 
They also sacrifice before him cattle and sheep, of whose flesh he 
partakes in the company of his wicked ministers. [Further] they 
saddle a horse which they keep ready for him. ‘This he rides and 
gallops off until the horse comes to a stop. “There the devil vanishes. 
This he does once a year.” 

The King commanded the young man to repeat this ghastly cere- 
mony on the prisoners themselves before the royal army. Many of 
them were thus flayed and murdered in the presence of their own fam- 
ilies. “There were slain on that day many foisoners. For it was a prac- 
tice of the members of that sect that each (? ) one should, on the devil’s 
command, poison some one [during the year? ]. If he was unable 
to find a victim, the devil harassed him so persistently that he finally 
gave the poison to a member of his own family. ‘Those that were 
slothful in these religious duties or denounced any one [of the devil 
worshippers to the authorities] were visited by the devil with blindness 
and leprosy. 



RUANDA (East Central Arrica) 

(Ex-German, Congolese and British) 

Principal Authorities: 

1. The Muniginya Mututsi Nirimpizima, first cousin of the Sultan 
Yuu Musinea, reigning Umwami of Ruanda. 

2. The Mwega Mututsi woman Kanrarama of Inpuca County 
(Ruanda Proper). 

3. The Muhutu Arcapr Noergse of Bugoie County (N. W. Ruanda). 

4 The Muhutu Rwaxazina of Bufumbira (Brit. Ruanda). 

5. The Mututsi Kasanco of the Rutshuru (Congolese Ruanda), 
and others. 


The Mututsi Kicwa, a Muniginya, came down to Inpuca from the 
heavens with his wife, a Mwega, and his two sons named Karurst and 
Kauutu. He found on earth the aboriginal clans of BacEsszra, BazicaBE 
and Bastnoa, all Ba-Hutrvu. All were equal. There was no King. They 
attacked the family with stones. They knew no other weapons. 

On his deathbed Kicwa instructed his sons to teach the aborigines the 
arts of civilization, which they did. The smelting of iron, and the manu- 
facture of spears and knives resulted. 

Katutst had a daughter. He told Kanurv to go to another hill across 
the river and marry her. 

He wished to establish a separate branch of the family to avoid too close 

Kanutu at first refused as the relationship was too close, but faute de 
mieux consented so that the race should neither lose its purity nor die out. 

Th gsaees 

pis | 

. “ = \ ‘ Dog ae 5 gee ie 
ha ee eg, 


Bantu Types 
People of the Safwa tribe (north of Lake Nyasa). 
(See page 372.) 


Kaunutu’s wife (and her offspring) were thenceforward called the 
“ Apeca ba Kulya,” “ The nether Princess(es).” Cf. Luganda: Mu-MBe«a, 
or Mu-MBeEpja = a princess. 

It was stated by Karurtst that “ The Banya-Ginya shall bear kings.” To 
which Kauutu replied: “ And the Ab-Eca the mothers of Kings.” 

The word “ Ruanpa ” = “ the Kingdom,” in the Kinya-Ruanpa tongue. 

The story is taken down verbatim from (1), but varies considerably in 
detail as told by other informants, usually as to whether they are Ba-tutsi or 
Ba-hitu. The inhabitants of the INpuca County alone consider themselves 
to be of the true Ruanda stock. 


By the Banya-Ruanpa Cattle are considered second only to man in the 

Umwami Noorr (Npaniro) had a daughter, NyrraRucHABA, who was 
driven out from their home (ULuco) by him. 

She went into the wilderness of Kanacce above Msano (Lake Kivu). 
Her father thought her dead. 

NyIRARUCHABA saw two strange animals in a rocky forest glade. One was 
a cow and the other its (bull) calf. The cow appeared to be rubbing 
itself in the mouth of a small rocky depression. When it moved into the 
forest, she went and examined the place and found a white liquid in a 
pool. This she tasted and found good. 

Every morning she watched the cow: first it suckled the calf and then 
descended into the hollow to try and relieve the pressure of milk in its 
udders, by rubbing against a mound in the cave mouth, as the calf could 
not drink enough. 

While in the forest shortly afterwards she met an exiled Muhutu who 
possessed nothing, and they lived together. Nyrrarucuasa had been drink- 
ing regularly of the milk to sustain her and wanted someone to help her 
to keep and tame the cow for herself. She suggested first catching the 
calf. But the Muhutu was afraid and said: “If we catch the calf, the 
mother will go away and not give us more milk.” But she caught the calf 
herself, without help, and put it in their hut of leaves. Next day she went, 
taking the calf as a protection against an attack by the mother’s horns. She 
let the calf suck and then went and drank from the udders herself. Daily 


she did this till the cow became accustomed to her and it was no longer 
necessary to conceal herself with the calf to do so. Eventually she learnt 
to milk into a primitive vessel. Her man told her to do this daily. Both 
drank. One day at the edge of the wilderness she met a strange man who 
said: “I seem to know you.” She said: “ Perhaps.” He said: “ We are 
all in distress. The King is ill of a mortal disease.” She gave him a 
clay vessel of milk to take to the King as medicine. She placed a reed- 
“ straw ” in it and told the man to take it to the King, but that the effective- 
ness of the medicine would be spoilt if it was told that the donor was a 
woman. She feared her father might suspect sorcery from a woman. 
Npauiro consented to try it, after the bearer had tasted it, and in two days 
he recovered after years of sickness. After pressure, it was revealed that it 
came from a girl in the wilderness. Eventually NyrrAaRUCHABA was sent 
for and found: the cow and calf followed her to the King. He was over- 
joyed to see her. She said the milk was the sap of trees, fearing harm to 
the cow, of which she was fond. 

One day, however, the King came upon her milking the cow, naked. 

He discovered the secret, but was angry to find his daughter naked, 
against taboo. 

The cow had calves by the bull calf, and the King had great power and 
honour as their possessor. 

He ordered his daughter to teach the herdsmen to milk, and that women 
were never again to milk cows. Some years after the “ Abapfumu ” (priests) 
of Buxara predicted the appearance of large herds of cattle from the 
caves near Lake RunHonpo (Mulera) and that there would be no more 
peasantry or poverty. All would own cattle and all be equal as at first. 

The King, apprehensive for the government of the Ruanda (realm), 
decreed that all cattle were a royal appurtenance, as they are in Ruanda to 
this day. The cattle appeared in the reign of CrHanca and he apportioned 
them to his people as his herdsmen. 

And thus it is in Ruanda to this day. 

Taken down verbatim from (2). Variations in detail in other narratives 
is inconsiderable. 



(British Ruanpa: Bufumbira) 

(a) Lucanzu is in Ruanda (Bufumbira) tradition the first man on earth. 
He is believed to have descended from the heavens and first set foot on 
earth at this spot (Plate XII). The footprints of a cow, calf, and dog are 
clearly visible, as also marks representing that of a bow and arrow. 

The footprints of Lucanzu and the kneeprints of his wife are also 
shown. These had to be cleared of moss before photographing. The 
Muhutu Chief Muzerero of Nyarusiza (Bufumbira) is here seen in the 
traditional position and attitude of Lucanzu. A passing Munya-Ruanpa 
woman is posed in the knee marks of Lucanzu’s wife. 

The place is a mile north of the foothills of Mr. Sasrnyo (Brrunca 
Range). The Anglo-Belgian (Congo) frontier runs upon the slight rise 
seen in the near background. 

(2) Lucanzvu’s cattle trough (Plate XIII). Curious rock formation. 
The troughs contain no water except occasional rain pools and are not 
now used to water stock. Twenty yards from the site shown in Plate XII. 

A young Mu-Tuts1 is seen seated. The peculiar Ruanda hair pattern 
(Umusunzu) is very visible. The Ba-Turtsi maintain it longer and more 
carefully than the other two Banya-Ruanpa races, viz, the Ba-Htru and 
the Ba-Twa. 



The complete titles and descriptions of the works cited in the Notes 
will be found in the Bibliography. 


1. Herodotus, vii, 73. This view is confirmed by other evidence. 
The Armenian language, like Thracian, is a Satem language. The 
old Armenians were addicted to beer-drinking just like their Western 
brothers. The old Armenian ideal of human beauty was the large 
proportioned, bright (blue? ) eyed, fair complexioned man. We shall 
later see that the Armenian religion also bears some important testi- 
mony to their original identity with the Thracians. 

CuHaprTer. I 

1. It is barely possible that, as Jensen maintained in his Hittiter 
und Armenier, the Armenian word shand, “ lightning,” is a reminis- 
cence of the Cicilian or Hittite sanda, sandan (see Frazer, GB*, 
part 4, Adonis, Attis, and Osiris, i. 124 f.). Sanda, who was identi- 
fied with Hercules, was a god of fertility, and may well have been 
a tribal variety of Tushup, the Hittite weather god. 

2. We have now very clear evidence of the presence of Indo- 
Iranians among the Kassus of the lower part of the Zagros range, 
the Mittanis of Northern Mesopotamia, and the Hittites of Asia 
Minor, before and after the 15th century B.c. 

3. ERE ix, goo. 

4. American Indians had a similar rite according to Longfellow’s 
Hiawatha, XIII. In the spring naked women rose on a certain night 
and walked around the fields, to make them fertile. The same thing 
is reported of some parts of Germany (Frazer, i. 138-139). 

5. See L. R. Farnell, The Cults of the Greek States, Oxford, 
1896-1909, vol. 5; artts. “‘ Dionysos” and “‘ Sabazios” in Roscher, 
Pauly-Wissowa, and Daremberg-Saglio; G. Davis, The Asiatic 
Dionysus, London, 1914. 

6. The most unmistakable one of these is Hyagnis (see Chap. 
V and Appendix I), Hyas seems to be identical with Hayk, and 


Marsyas-Masses with the name of the sacred mountain Massis (Ararat). 
The Dio of Dionysus is often explained as “‘ god,” and may be found 
in the Armenian word Di-kh, “ gods.” 

7. Codex La Cava calls Isto, “ Ostius,” “ Hostius.” See A. V. 
Rydberg, Teutonic Mythology, tr. R. B. Anderson, London, 1889. 
As for Astvads, Agathangelos (5th cent.) defines it as “one who 
brings about,” an explanation which seems to have struck the philo- 
sophical fancy of the ancient Armenian Fathers. Others have related 
it to Hastvads, “ creature” or “ creation,“ from the Persian hast, 
“exists.” Another old writer saw in it the Cimmerian word for 
“unction.” ‘The Persian yazd, the Avestic astvat, “incarnate,” the 
Hindu Asdvada (Brahma? ), the Celtic Duez, and the Teutonic 
Tiwaz (Ziu) (both of which are in reality cognates of the Greek 
Zeus), were drawn into the task of shedding light on the mysterious 
Astvads. Patrubani, a Hungarian Armenian who teaches in the Uni- 
versity of Budapest, undertakes to explain it from the Vedic vattu, 
“habitation,” Gk. dorv, “city,” which by the addition of “ ¢,” 
Indo-Germanic “ig” (to honor), would mean “ that which the city 
worships.” Prof. Nar of Moscow identifies Astvads with Sabazios, 
a view which the present writer held for a while independently 
of Nar. 

8. The loss of an initial » before r or / is not an uncommon phe- 
nomenon in Armenian (see C. Brugmann and D. Delbriich, Grundriss 
der vergleichenden Grammatik der Indogerman. Sprachen,’ Strass- 
burg, 1886-1900, i. 503, and A. Meillet, Grammaire arménienne. 
The intervening e presents no difficulty. The Latin periculum is 
probably represented in Armenian by erkiud, “ fear.” 

g. The Slavic character of things Thraco-Phrygian has lately been 
attracting some attention (see G. Calderon, “Slavonic Elements in 
Greek Religion,” Classical Review [1913]. The Letto-Slavic char- 
acter of the Armenian language has been known for the last four 
decades through the researches of Hiibschmann. Here it may be 
noted that something of this had already been observed in the folk- 
lore of the Armenians (see Chalatianz, Intro.). 

10. Die alten Thraker, Vienna, 1893-4 (SWAW), ii. 60. 

11. Gladys M. N. Davis, in a recent work called The Asiatic 
Dionysos, London, 1914, has revived an older theory that would 
identify Dionysos with the Vedic Soma. ‘This book has been very 
severely criticised, but its main contention is worthy of further 

12. See also A. Meillet, “ Sur les termes religieux iraniens en 
Arménien,” in Revue des études arméniennes, i, fasc. 3, 1921; M. H. 
Ananikian, “‘ Armenia,” in ERE. 

NOTES 381 

CuaptTer II 

1. Enishe (5th cent.), speaking of the Sassanian Mihr, reports 
that the Persians considered him as the helper of “ the seven gods,” 
which means Auramazda with the six Amesha Spentas. Dolens and 
Khatch (pp. 201-203) maintain this view, and also aptly point to the 
Phoenician pantheon with seven Cabirs, and Eshmun the eighth. 
Even in India Aditi had seven, then with the addition of the sun, 
eight children. 

2. Farther west, especially in Persianized Lydia, Anahita was 
represented with a crescent on her head. 

3. Agathangelos, p. 34. 

4. See detailed description in Sandalgian’s Histoire documentaire, 
P- 794- 

. A thorough comparative study of the Armenian church rites 
is still a desideratum. When we have eliminated what is Byzantine 
or Syrian, we may safely assume that the rest is native and may have 
preserved bits of the pagan worship. Among these rites may be 
mentioned the abjuration of the devil in Lent, the Easter celebrations, 
the Transfiguration roses and rose-water, the blessing of the grapes 
at the Assumption of the Virgin, the blessing of the four corners of 
the earth, etc. 

Cuaprer III 

1. Agathangelos, p. 590. 

2. Seeing that Anahit was in later times identified with Artemis 
and Nane, with Athene and Mihr and with Hephaistos, one may well 
ask whether this fathering of Aramazd upon them was not a bit of 
Hellenizing. Yet the Avesta does not leave us without a parallel in 
this matter. 

3. Agathangelos, pp. 52, 61. 

4. Ibid., pp. 52, 61, 106. 

5. [bid., p. 623. 

6. It is noteworthy that his Christian successor is a hurler of the 

7. See artts. “‘ Calendar (Armenian) ” and “ Calendar (Persian) ” 
in ERE iii. 70 f., 128 f. 

8. Al-Birani, Chron., pp. 202-203. 

g. This is an important instance of the Adonis gardens in the East, 
overlooked by Frazer. Readers of his Adonis, Attis, and Osiris know 
how widely the custom had spread in the West. 

10. See Chap. 8. 


11. Gregory the Illuminator substituted the festival of St. John 
Baptist for that of the Navasard, but as that festival did not attain 
more than a local popularity (in Tarauntis) the later Fathers seem 
to have united it with the great festival of the Assumption of the 
Virgin, at which the blessing of the grapes takes place. These 
Christian associations gradually cost the old festival many of its 
original traits. 

12. Al-Birini, Chron., p. 199. 

13. Moses, ii. 66; Agathangelos, p. 623. Gelzer and others have 
made of his title of Vanatur, “ hospitable,” a separate deity. However 
corrupt the text of Agathangelos may be, it certainly does not justify 
this inference. Further, Vanatur is used in the Book of Maccabees 
to translate Zeus Xenios. For a fuller discussion of this subject see 
art. “ Armenia (Zoroastrian) ” in ERE i. 795. 

14. Al-Birtni, Chron., p. 200. 

15. Quoted by Alishan, p. 260. It is perhaps on this basis that— 
Gelzer gives her the title of “ mother of gods.” This title finds no 
support in ancient records. 

16. Agathangelos, p. 590. This cannot be Zoroastrian. 

17. Moses, ii. 12. 

18. [bid., ii. 53. 

19. Agathangelos, p. 612. 

20. Moses, i. 31. 

21. Kund in Persian may mean “ brave.” But the word does not 
occur in Armenian in this sense. 

22. The Iberians also had a chief deity called Azmaz (a corruption 
of Aramazd), whose statue, described as “the thunderer” or “a 
hurler of lightning,” was set up outside of their capital, Mdskhit. A 
mighty river flowed between the temple and the city. As the statue 
was visible from all parts of the city, in the morning everyone stood 
on his house-roof to worship it. But those who wished to sacrifice, 
had to cross the river in order to do so at the temple. (Alishan, 
P- 314.) 

23. Whenever she may have come to Persia, her patronage over 
the rivers and springs need not be regarded as a purely Iranian addition 
to her attributes. The original Ishtar is a water goddess, and therefore 
a goddesss of vegetation, as well as a goddess of love and maternity. 
Water and vegetation underlie and symbolize all life whether animal 
or human. Cf. Mythology of all Races, Boston, 1917, vi. 278 f. 

24. Agathangelos, p. 52. 

25. Dio. Cass., 36, 48; Pliny, HN v. 83. 

26. Strabo, xi. 532C. Cumont thinks that this was a modification 
of ancient exogamy (see art. “ Anahita” in ERE i. 414, and his Les 

NOTES 383 

religions orientales dans le paganisme romain, Paris, 1907, p. 287). 
Yet it is difficult to see wherein this sacred prostitution differs from 
the usual worship paid to Ishtar and Ma. As Ramsay explains it 
in his art. “ Phrygians ” (ERE ix. goo f.) this is an act which is sup- 
posed to have a magical influence on the fertility of the land and 
perhaps also on the fecundity of these young women. Cf. arts. “ Ash- 
tart” (ERE ii. 115f.) and “ Hierodouloi (Semitic and Egyptian) ” 
(ERE vi. 672 f.). 

27. Faustus, ili. 13. 

28. Alishan, p. 263. 

29. Moses, p. 294. 

30. Justina was a Christian virgin of Antioch whom a certain 
magician called Cyprian tried to corrupt by magical arts, first in 
favor of a friend, then for himself. His utter failure led to his 
conversion, and both he and Justina were martyred together. 

31. We have already seen (p. 11) that Ishtar as Sharis had 
secured a place in the Urartian pantheon. 

32. Agathangelos, pp. 51, 61. 

33. Moses, ii. 60. 

34. Ibid, ii. 12. 

35. Faustus, v. 25. 

36. Agathangelos, p. 591. 

37. Cicero, De imperio Pompeii, p. 23. 

38. Agathangelos, p. 59; Weber, p. 31. 

39. Farther west Anahit required bulls, and was called Taurobolos. 

40. HN xxxili. 4; see Gelzer, p. 46. 

41. Pliny, loc. cit. 

42. Moses, ii. 16. 

. Eraz, “dream,” is identical with the Persian word raz, 
“secret,” “occult,” and perhaps also with the Slavic raj, “the other 
world,” or “ paradise.” Muyn is now unintelligible and the povoos 
of the Greek is evidently a mere reproduction of the cryptic muyn. 

44. Moses, ii. 12. 

45. Tiur’s name occurs also as Tre in the list of the Armenian 
months. In compound names and words it assumes the Persian 
form of Tir. We find a “Ti” in the old exclamation “ (By) Ti 
or Tir, forward! ” and it may be also in such compound forms as 
Ti-air, Ti-mann, a “lord,” and Ti-kin, “ a Ti-woman,” i.e., “ lady,” 
“queen.” Ti-air may be compared with Tirair, a proper name of 
uncertain derivation. However, owing to the absence of the “r” 
in Ti, one may well connect it with the older Tiv, a cognate of 
Indo-European Dyaus, Zeus, Tiwaz, etc., or one may consider it 
as a dialectical variety of the Armenian di, “ god.” See also p. 13. 


46. Eznik, pp. 150, 153, etc. Synonymous or parallel with this, 
we find also the word dbakht, “ fortuna.” 

47. Pshrank, p. 271. See for a fuller account Abeghian, p. 61f. 

48. Perhaps because, like the temple of Nabu in Borsippa, it 
contained a place symbolizing the heavenly archive in which the 
divine decrees were deposited. 

49. Agathangelos. 

50. “The Writer” was confused with the angel of death in 
Christian times. He is now called “the little brother of death.” 
It is curious to note that the Teutonic Wotan, usually identified 
with Mercury, was also the conductor of souls to Hades. 

51. Nabu, the city-god of Borsippa, once had precedence over 
Marduk himself in the Babylonian Pantheon. But when Marduk, 
the city god of Babylon, rose in importance with the political rise of 
his city, Nabu became the scribe of the gods and their messenger, 
as well as the patron of the priests. On the Babylonian New Year’s 
Day (in the spring) he wrote on tablets, the destiny of men, when 
this was decided on the world mountain. 

52. Farvardin Yasht, xxvii. 126. 

53. Moulton, p. 435. Even the Arabs knew this deity under the 
name of °Urarid, which also means Mercury, and has the epithet 
of “ writer.” 

54. There lies before us no witness to the fact that the Armenians 
ever called the planet Mercury, Tiur, but it is probable. ‘The Persians 
themselves say that Mercury was called Tir, “ arrow,” on account of 
its swiftness. 

55. See G. Rawlinson’s Herodotus, app. Bk. i, under Nebo. 

56. Jensen derives Tir from the Babylonian Dpir = Dipsar, 
“scribe.” However, he overlooks the fact that the East has known 
and used the word Dpir in an uncorrupted form to this day. Tir 
may even be regarded as one element in the mysterious Hermes 
Tresmegisthos, which is usually translated as “ Thrice greatest.” It 
seems to be much more natural to say: Hermes, the greatest Tir. 
However, we have here against us the great army of classical scholars 
and a hoary tradition. 

57. Eznik, pp. 122, 138; also Enishe, ii. 44. F. Cumont, in his 
Mysteries of Mithra, wrongly ascribes these myths to the Armenians 
themselves, whereas the Armenian authors are only reporting Zrvan- 
tian ideas, 

58. Greek Agathangelos; Moses, ii. 18. 

59. Agathangelos, p. 593. One of the gates of the city of Van 
is to this day called by Mihr’s name (Meher). 

60. These human sacrifices may also be explained by Mihr’s prob- 

NOTES 385 

able relation to Vahagn. Vahagn is the fierce storm god, who, as in 
Vedic and Teutonic religions, had supplanted the god of the bright 
heaven. Vahagn may have once required human sacrifices in Arme~ 
nia, as his Teutonic brother Wotan did. 

61. Eznik, pp. 15, 16. 

CuapTer IV 

Moses, ii. 14. 
Ibid., iis 14. 
Tbid., i. 14. 
Anania of Shirag, ed. St. Petersburg, p. 48. 
. Lbid., ii. 14; Greek Agathangelos. Josephus calls the Nana 
of Elam, Artemis. 

6. Moses, ii. 14; Greek Agathangelos. 

7- Apollodorus, iii. 14, 3. 

WER ® Pm 


1. [bid., i. 31: Agathangelos, pp. 106, 607. 

2. Agathangelos, p. 106. 

3. Ibid., p. 606. | 

4. The Armenian word for “reed” is ekeg. The Phrygian 
cognate of eAeg is probably at the root of the Greek édeyaor, 
“elegy,” which originally had nothing to do with elegiac poetry, but 
meant a doleful melody accompanied by the flute. The relation of 
the reed to the flute is well known to those who are familiar with the 
Greek myths of Pan. Armenian also possesses the word eder in 
the sense of “dirge” (see F. B. Jevons, History of Greek Literature, 
New York, 1886, p. 111), but eAer has nothing to do with “ elegy.” 

5. Alishan, p. 87. 

6. The district of GoAthn seems to have clung to the old pagan- 
ism more tenaciously than any other in Armenia. 

7. All these facts are recognized and clearly expressed by Olden- 
berg, p. 105 f.; Lehmann, in P. D. Chantepie de la Saussaye, Lehrbuch 
li. 27; Macdonell, § 35; Moore, i. 254 f. 

8. There is a great temptation to connect Aravan, the son of 
Vahagn (Moses, i, 31), with this Vedic priest, as some have already 
connected the Bhrgu of the Vedas with Brig = Phrygians. Atharvan 
could easily pass to Aravan through Ahrvan. However, the name is 
also Avestic. 

9g. Chalatianz, p. xiii. Even in Egyptian mythology the Sun-god 
is sometimes born out of an egg, but he is born also out of the lotus- 
stalk, for he is said to have spent his childhood in the lotus flower. 
Cf. Mythology of All Races, Boston, 1918, xii. 3$)°50. 


10. Macdonell, pp. 89, 98. 

11. Abeghian, p. 83 f. It is a very strange and significant coinci- 
dence that in the Veda also the sea-born Agni is related to the light- 
ning (Rig-veda-Sanhita: a collection of ancient Hindu Hymns, 
tr. H. H. Wilson, London, 1850-88, vi. 119, note), and that Agni 
gives rain (Idid., p. 387). Cf. also Oldenberg, p. 167 f.; Macdonell, 
§ 35, where the sea is identified with the heavenly sea. 

12. Oldenberg, p. 120. 

13. We would suggest that this is the origin of the use of baresman 
both in India and in Iran at the worship of the fire and of the bares- 
man at the Magian worship of the sun. The grass or stalk cushion 
upon which the sacrifice is laid and the bunch of green stalks or twigs 
held before the face were perhaps supposed to be an effective charm, 
meant to work favorably upon the sun and the fire. 

14. Sandalgian’s theory that Vahagn came to Armenia straight from 
Vedic India has no sound foundation. 

15. See Appendix, I, Vahagn. 


1. Moses, ii. 19. 

2. Ibid., ii. 77. The modern Armenian use of the word “ sun ” 
in the sense of “ life,” is due perhaps to the fact that the sun brings the 
day, and days make up the sum of human life. 

3. Abeghian, p. 41. 

. Agathangelos, p. 125. 

Xenophon, Anab., iv. 5. 35. 

Discourses, Venice, 1860, p. 198-9. 

Ed. Patkanean, p. 66. 

Yasht, vii. 4; Al-Birini, Chron., p. 219. 
Cie p. 180. 

10. Aieoran: p. 49. 

11. Déadistan-i Dinik, 1xix. 2; Sikand-Giimanik Vijar,iv. 46. 

12. Eznik, p, 217, See also Appendix II, Witchcraft and Magic. 

13. Abeghian, pp. 41-49; Tchéraz, in T/CO ii. 823 f. 

14. Alishan, in one of his popular poems, calls the Milky Way the 
manger from which the dragon may break loose. ‘This is the echo 
of some myth which we have not been able to locate. A modern 
Armenian legend says that the Milky Way was formed by two brothers 
who worked together in the fields and then divided the crop on the 
threshing-floor. One of them was married and the other single. In 
the night the married one would rise and carry sheaves from his stack 
to his brother’s, saying, “‘ My brother is single and needs some con- 


NOTES 387 

solation.” The other would do the same, saying, ‘‘ My brother is 
married and needs help.” ‘Thus going to and fro they scattered the 

15. Abeghian, pp. 41-45. 

16. Pshrank, p. 198. 

17. Alishan, p. 89. 

18. Abeghian, p. 45; Pshrank, p. 198. 

19. Quoted by Alishan, p. 98. 

20. It is well known how later Zoroastrianism degraded the genii 
of all the planets in demoniac powers. 

21. Eznik, p..1§3 f. 

22. Al-Birani, Chron., p. 211. 

CuHapPTer VII 

1. Here it is worth while to notice how Kuhn in his exhaustive 
‘study of fire-myths, called Die Herabkunft des Feuers,? Gutersloh 
1886, summarizes his conclusion. He says (p. 35): ‘‘ The myths 
which have just been compared show the same belief among the 
Indians, Greeks, and Italians in regard to the fact that the earthly 
fire has been brought to mankind as a heavenly spark in (the form of ) 
the lightning by a semi-divine being who was originally (and) gener- 
ally imagined as a winged being, as a bird. “The people must have | 
thought that the spark is produced in the clouds by twirling, just in 
the same manner as they saw the fire gotten out of the primeval 
instrument, through a circling friction.” 

2. Possibly the fear with which iron is supposed to inspire evil 
spirits is also due to the fact of its containing and producing sparks 
like the flint. A curious passage of the 1st Book of Jalal ad-Dinar- 
Rumi’s Mathnavi makes much of the fire which iron and stone contain, 
and which may not be extinguished by water. 

3. Aspirated “ p” became “h” in Armenian, as “ pater,” Armen. 
hayr. The Phrygian word for fire is said by Plato to have resembled 
the Greek zip 

4. In many places these ancestral spirits have become just spirits, 
undefined and general. 

5. There were in Armenia at least three towns of the gods: Baga- 
yarij in Derzanes, Bagavan in Bagrevand, and Bagaron on the river 
Akhurean. See H. Hiibschmann, Die Altarmen. Ortsnamen, pp. 

6. Alishan, Hayapatum, p. 79. 

7. “Story of the Picture of the Holy Virgin,” in Moses of Chorene. 

8. Lazare of Pharpe (5th cent.), p. 203. 


9. ARW xvii. [1914] 479. Similar customs are reported also 
of the Belgians. See Frazer, GB*, part 7, Balder the Beautiful, 
London, i. 194 f. 

10. Many of the German sacred fire-festivals were also taken under 
the patronage of the church and started from a candle (Kuhn, Die 
Herabkunft des Feuers*, p. 41 f.). 

11. See Frazer, GB*, pt. 7, Balder the Beautiful, i. 131, 
for a very interesting and fuller account of the Armenian New Fires 
at Candlemas. In fact the whole Chapter V constitutes the richest 
material on new fires and the best treatment of this subject. Notice 
that securing fruitfulness, for the fields, trees, animals, etc., is the 
chief motive of the fires, but next comes the desire to prevent disease. 
These fires were intended to exert some favorable influence on the 
fire-god in general and on the lightning (rain) god in particular. 
The February fires in England, which were kindled on Candlemas, 
if productive of bad weather, heralded thereby the coming of the 
rainy season, i.e. the spring. For in this sense alone it is possible to 
understand the old English verses: 

“Tf Candlemas be dry and fair © 
The half o’ winter’s to come and mair; 
If Candlemas be wet and foul 
The half o” winter’s gane at Yule.” 

See also artt. “ Feu” in La Grande Encyclopédie; “ Fire” in EB°; 
“€ Candlemas ” in ERE iii. 189 f. 

CuHaprTer VIII 

1. Annals, vi. 37. 

2. Lehmann, “ Religionsgesch. aus Kaukasien und Armenien,” in 
ARW, iii. [1900] 4 f. 

3. There are those who have explained Vartavar from the Sanscrit 
as meaning “ sprinkling with water,” and it can possibly mean also 
“increasing the waters.” However befitting, this Sanscrit etymology 
is far-fetched. 

4. For the numerous references on this subject, see the General 
Index of Frazer’s Golden Bough, under “ Fire,” “ Water,” etc. It 
would be worth while to inquire also whether the Roman Rosalia 
(Rosales esces) and the Slavic and Macedonian Rousalia are in any 
way related to the Armenian Vartavar. See G. F. Abbott, Macedo- 
nian Folk-lore, Cambridge, 1903, pp. 40 ff. These western festivals, 
however, come much earlier. 

5. Al-Birini, Chron., pp. 199, 203. 

6. The Armenians had other methods of fire-making. 

NOTES 389 

CuapTer 1X 

1. Abeghian, p. 59 f.; Lehmann, “ Religionsgeschichte aus Kau- 
kasien und Armenien,” in ARW, iii. [1900] 10 f. 

2. The name Massis for this snow-capped giant of Armenia seems 
to have been unknown to the old Urartians. It may be an Armenian 
importation, if not a later Northern echo of the Massios, which was 
in Assyrian times the name of the great mountain in the plain of 
Diarbekir. According to Nicholas of Damascus (see Josephus, Ant. 
Jud., I. iii, 6) this mountain was known also by the name of Baris, 
which Sandalgian compares with the Sacred mountain Hara-berezaiti 
of the Avesta. 


1. Here, of course, the valuable tale of the epics has vanished before 
the Biblical conception of the spread of mankind, but a dim memory 
of the events that led to the separation of the Armenians from their 
mighty brethren of Thrace or Phrygia, as well as something of the 
story of the conquest of Urartu by the Armenians, seems to be reflected 
in the biblicised form of the legend. 

2. Moses, i. 10, 11. 

3. Alishan, p. 126. 

4. Dr. Chapman calls my attention to the passages in Sayce’s and 
Sandalgian’s works on the Urartian inscriptions, where they find 
the name Huas or “Uas. Sandalgian also explains it as Hayk. (In- 
scriptions Cunéiformes Urartiques, 1900, p. 437.) See also the 
appendix on Vahagn in this work. 

5. A. H. Sayce, The Cuneiform Inscriptions of Van, p. 710: 

6. This is the prevailing view among modern scholars. The word 
that was current in this sense in historical times was azat (from 
yazata?), “venerable.” Patrubani sees in Hayk the Sanskrit pana and 
the Vedic payn, “keeper”; Armen. hay-im, “I look.” 

7. Republic, x. 134. 

8. Patrubani explains Armenus as Arya-Manah, “ Aryan (noble? )- 
minded.” ‘The Vedic Aryaman seems to mean “ friend,” “ comrade.” 

g. This is not impossible in itself as we find a host of Arabic words 
and even broken plurals in pre-Muhammedan Armenian. 

10. Nychar is perhaps the Assyrian Nakru, “ enemy ” or a thinned- 
down and very corrupt echo of the name of Hanaciruka of Mata, 
mentioned in an inscription of Shamshi-Rammon of Assyria, 825-812 
B.c. (Harper, Ass. and Bab. Liter., p. 48). 

11. Moses, i. 15. See also additional note on Semiramis, Appendix 



12. Republic, x. 134. | 

13. Pamphylians were dressed up like the Phrygians, but they were 
a mixed race. } | 

14. See art. ‘‘ Gilgamesh ” in EBr*’; also F. Jeremiah’s account of 
the myth in Chantepie de la Saussaye, Lehrbuch *, i. 331f. Frazer in 
GB® part iv, Adonis, Attis, and Osiris, ch. 5, gives an interesting 
account of kings, who, through self-cremation on a funeral pyre, 
sought to become deified. He tells also of a person who, having died, 
was brought back to life through the plant of life shown by a serpent 
(as in the well-known myth of Polyidus and Glaucus, cf. Hyginus, 
Fab. 136, and for Folk-tale parallels, J. Bolte and G. Polivka, 
Anmerkungen zu den Kinder- und Haus-Marchen der Briider Grimm, 
Leipzig, 1913, i. 126f.). Further, we learn through Herodotus 
(iv. 95.) that Zalmoxis, the Sabazios of the Getae in Thrace, taught 
about the life beyond the grave, and demonstrated his teaching by 
disappearing and appearing again. 

15. Sayce, Cuneiform Inscriptions of Van, p. 566. We may also 
point to the verbal resemblance between Er-Ara and the Bavarian Er, 
which seems to have been either a title of Tiu = Dyaus, or the name 
of an ancient god corresponding to Tiu. 

16. For the real Tigranes of this time we may refer the reader to 
Xenophon, Cyropaedia, iii. 1. Azdahak of Media is known to:Greek 
authors as Astyages, the maternal grandfather of Cyrus the Great. 

17. According to classical authors the historical Astyages was not 
killed by Tigranes, but dethroned and taken captive by Cyrus. 

18. According to Herodotus (i. 74) the name of the first queen 
of Astyages was Aryenis. .4nush is a Persian word which may be 
interpreted as “ pleasant.” But it may also be a shortened form from 
anushiya, “ devoted.” ‘This latter sense is supported by such compound 
names in Armenian as connect anush with names of gods, e.g. Hayka- 
nush, Hranush, Vartanush, etc. 


1. See art. “ Fairy” in ERE v. 678 f. See also Kirk, Secret Com- 
monwealth of Elves, etc. Its analysis largely supports ours which was 
made independently on the basis of more extensive material. 

2. Herodotus, iv. 9. The Greek view of the origin of the Scythians 
was that they were born from the union of Herakles with a woman 
who was human above the waist and serpent below. 

3. Goldziher, “Wasser als Damonenabruhrendes Mittel,” in 
ARW, xiii. [1910] 274 f. This may have reference to water in its 
relation to the birth of fire or to the lightning. 

NOTES 391 

4. Agathangelos, p. 57. Cf. the cross of the archangel Michael 
in graveyards of Roman Catholic churches, e.g., French. 

5. Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion, Cambridge, 1903, 
P. 540. 

6. This description is based on the account given by Alishan and 
in Pshrank. Some confusion has arisen in regard to the true nature 
of this old rite, owing to the fact that Shvod was thought to be Shudat, 
the Syriac name of a month corresponding to February. But it is 
certain that originally Shvod was the name of a class of spirits. 

7. For a comparative study of serpent-worship and serpent-lore 
see art. “Serpent” in ERE xi. 

8. According to Frazer, GB*, part 7, Balder the Beautiful, 
London, 1913, ix. 15, the serpent’s stone is identical with the serpent’s 
egg. This, however, is not quite certain. Nor should this egg be 
confused with that in which a fairy’s or dragon’s external soul is 
often hidden (idid., ii. 106f.). 

9. Later magical texts use the word “dragon” in the sense of 
evil spirit. 

10. For parallels see J. A. MacCulloch, The Childhood of Fiction: 
A Study of Folk-Tales and Primitive Thought, London, 1905, 
chap. 14, “ The Dragon Sacrifice,” and E. S. Hartland, The Legend 
of Perseus, London, 1894-96. 

11. Chalatianz (p. 12) speaking of modern Armenian folk-tales 
about the dragons’ reciprocated love for highborn matrons and maids, 
mentions also the fact that there are many parallels in Slav, Ruma- 
nian, and Wallachian folk-tales, and that it is the sons or brothers of 
these infatuated women who persecute the monster, often against the 
enamoured woman’s will. 

12. See art. “ Changeling ” in ERE iii. 358f. 

13. We know that the Persian Azi Dahaka, a corporeal creature 
and helper of Ahriman, had a human representative or could person- 
ify himself as a man. 

14. Quoted by Alishan, p. 194. 

15. This pulling up of the dragon out of a lake by means of 
oxen appears also in Celtic (Welsh) folklore. 

16. In England the Lambton Worm required nine cows’ milk daily. 
Luther, in his Table-Talk, describes a diabolical child —a “ Kill- 
crop,” which exhausted six nurses. ‘The house-serpent also is often 
fed on milk, while in other instances the serpent is said to be disin- 
clined to milk. 

17. House-fairies (the Brownie of Scottish folk-lore) thrash as 
much grain in a night as twenty men can do. See Kirk, Secret Com- 
monwealth, Introd. by A. Lang, p. 24. 


18. There is a contradiction here, In the original Persian story 
the world-destroyer is the dragon himself, chained by the hero 

19. These rocks were exposed in the morning to his eyes in order 
to neutralize their baleful influence during the day. The evil eye 
is blue. Before it, mountains, even the whole world may flame up. 
(Pshrank, p. 180.) 

20. For whirlwinds in connection with jinn, fairies, demons, and 
witches see “ Fairy” in ERE v. 6882. 

21. Alishan, p. 66. In more recent collections of folklore, God, 
angels, and even the prophet Elijah, have taken the place of the 
ancient weather god and his helpers. ‘The usual weapons are iron 
chains and the lightning. Sometimes it is a cloud-monster that is 
being driven hard and smitten with the lightning so that he shrieks. 
At other times it is the dragon hung in suspense in the sky that is 
trying to break his chains in order to reach and destroy the world. 
Angels pull him up and fasten his chains. The thunder-roll is 
the noise of the chains and of the affray in general. According to 
another and probably older account, the dragon that lives in the sea or 
on land, must not live beyond a thousand years. For then he would 
grow out of all proportion and swallow up everything. ‘Therefore, 
just before he has reached that age, angels hasten to pull him up into 
the sky. ‘There he is often represented as being consumed by the 
sun, while his tail drops down on earth to give birth to other dragons. 
A magical text of more recent date speaks of the Serpent who remains 
in hiding for one hundred years, then is taken into the skies, like a 
dragon, where he acquires twelve heads and four bridles (Lkam, 
Arabic). The lightning is often a sword, arrow or fiery whip which 
the Lord is hurling at the devil, who is fleeing, and who naturally and 
gradually has taken the place of the ancient dragon, as the Muhamme- 
dan Shaytan crowded out the eclipse dragon. 

22. Abeghian, p. 78. 

23. Here, however, the meteorological dragon seems to have 
become fused with the eschatological dragon. Whether these two 
were originally identical or can be traced to different sources is an 
important question which need not be discussed here. See Frazer, 
GB* part 7, Balder the Beautiful, London, 1913, i. 105 f. 

24. Abbott in his Macedonian Folk-lore (chap. xiv.) gives a very 
interesting account of the dragon beliefs there, which have a close 
affinity both with the Indian Vrtra and the Armenian Vishap. The 
Macedonian dragon is a giant and a monster, terrible, voracious and 
somewhat stupid, but not altogether detestable. He is invariably 
driven away by a bride who boldly asserts herself to be “ the Light- 

NOTES 393 

ning’s child, the Thunder’s grandchild and a hurler of thunderbolts!” 
Here Indra and Vrtra are unmistakable. 

25. The relation of such doctrines to the faith of the Yezidis is 
unmistakable (J. Ménant, Les Yezidis, p. 83; Parry, Six Months in 
a Syrian Monastery, p. 358 f. 

26. In Greek and Latin mythology the powers of Hades accept 
only black gifts and sacrifices, such as black sheep, heifers, beans, etc. 

27. Among other things this would recall the arrows of Herakles 
which had been dipped in the bile of the Lernean Hydra. 

28. Alishan, p. 191; Abeghian, p. 104f. 

29. Vahram Vartabed, quoted in Alishan, p. 194. 

30. Perhaps the fairies’ dart, which killed people and cattle in 
Scotland and elsewhere, is a dim reminiscence of this hunting habit 
of the fairies. 

31. Modern Armenian folk-lore also knows of witches with a tail 
who fly to foreign lands astride upon such jars. 

32. Cf. the Muslim “ Brides of the Treasuries,” fairy guardians 

of hidden treasure. Western fairies also are often imagined as 
mortal and as seeking to attain immortality through intermarriage 
with human beings. However in other instances it is they who try to 
free human children “ from dying flesh and dull mortality” by im- 
mersing them in fairy wells. In Pshrank (p. 194), a man stumbles 
into a wedding of these fairies, near the ruins of a water-mill. After 
an oath upon the Holy Eucharist, he is allowed to taste of their wine 
of immortality and to take a wife from their number. 
33. I owe this identification to Dr. J. W. Chapman. For the 
Telchins, see Blinkenberg, ‘‘ Rhodische Urvélker,” in Hermes, 1 
[1915] pt. 2, pp. 271 ff. and the authors named by him. In an article 
in the Hushartzan (Memorial Volume) of the Mechitarists of Vienna, 
Nicolaos Adontz finds in Torch the Hittite god Tarqu. 

34. Moses of Choren makes Torch the head of the noble house 
called “ AngeA Tun,” interpreting the word Anged as “ugly.” The 
expression means rather “ The Vulture’s House,” and Torch’s connec- 
tion with that house is an unfounded conjecture of Moses’ own or of 
his legendary sources. 

35. See Appendix IV, The Cyclops. 

36. Eznik, p. 191, Endishe, p. 65. 

37. An 11th cent. writer reports that a woman died leaving a hus- 
band and some children. While the man was perplexed as to how to 
take care of the orphans, a very beautiful woman appeared unex- 
pectedly and lived with him, taking good care of him and the children. 
But after a while for some reason she disappeared. She was rec- 
ognized as a female Dev. Modern Armenians are still catching 


mermaids by sticking a needle into their clothes. These can be 
married or held in servitude and they will stay as long as the needle 

38. Eznik, p. 178. 

39. Faustus, v. 2. 

40. Moses, ili. 55. 

41. Eznik, p. 178 f. 

42. Vendidad, xviii. 45-52. 

43. Under the influence of later Persian romantic conceptions of 
the Peris or Houris, the modern Armenian Parik has also become a 
most charming fairy. 

44. Eznik, p. 97 f. 

45. See on the modern Armenian Devs, Chalatianz, p. xiii f.; 
Lalayantz, ‘‘ Traditions et superstitions de l’Armenie,” Revue des tra- 
ditions populaires, x. [1895] 193f; F. Macler, art. “ Armenia 
(Christian),” in ERE i. 802; Pshrank, p. 170. Macler’s is a good 
summary of the two preceding studies. “The present-day Armenian 
Dev is a very large being with an immense head on his shoulders, and 
with eyes as large as earthen bowls. Some of them have only one eye 
(Pshrank, p. 170). 

46. Goldziher, ARW x. [1907] 44. 

47. This “mother of the Als” resembles the Teutonic devil’s 

48. Quoted by Alishan, p. 222. 

49. To steal unborn children is a trait of the nocturnal demon 
Kikimora of the Slavs also, but rather a rare notion among other 
peoples. The tribute mentioned in the text resembles the Scottish 
tradition of the similar tribute paid by the fairies to the devil, usually 
a human victim (see J. A. MacCulloch, artt. “ Changeling,” 
“Fairy,” in ERE iii. 360, v. 678). 

50. Modern Parsis burn a fire or light in the room, probably for 
the same purpose. (See J. J. Modi, art. “Birth (Parsi) ” in ERE 
ii. 661, though the writer fails to give the reason underlying this 
practice. ) 

51. The spirits of Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday eve, of which 
Abeghian (p. 120 f.) and, following him, Lalayantz (Revue des 
traditions populaires, x. [1895] 3), speak, are Christian inventions. 
Wednesday and Friday, as fast days, and Sunday as a holy day, are 
supposed to avenge themselves on those who do not respect their 

52. The Als are known also to modern Armenian folklore (Abe- 
ghian, p. 108 f.). But sometimes the Devs assume their functions 
(see Pshrank, p. 170), and they not only steal the mother’s liver, but 

NOTES 395 

also bring the child, probably born, to their chief, substituting for 
him a changeling. See also Appendix V, The 41. 

53. As this seems to be a self-contradiction, it is perhaps better to 
take it as a refutation by Eznik of those who said that the Nhang was 
a personal being. 

54. In a similar manner the Teutonic Nixies showed themselves 
in the form of bulls and horses, and lured men maliciously into the 
abyss. (S. Reinach, Orpheus, Eng. trans., London, 1909, p. 133). 

55- Alishan, p. 62 f. 

56. Faustus, v. 36. 

57. See p. 68. 

58. Eznik, p. 98 f. It is difficult to tell whether these beneficent 
spirits belonged to the original stock of Armenian beliefs or whether 
they were a survival of the Urartian or even Babylonian spirit world. 
Plato does not mention them in his brief and philosophical ‘ Er” 
myth, although how the dead hero’s body was taken up whole (intact), 
without some process of healing, is hard to see. ‘The myth about a 
slain hero’s return to life is, however, rather foreign to Greek 
thought, and this trait may not have reached him at all. G. H. 
Basmajian, an Armenian Assyriologist, in his short Comparative Study 
of our Aralez and the Babylonian Marduk (Venice, 1898), points 
out that Marduk had four dogs, Ukkumu, “ the snatcher,” Akkulu, 
“the eater,’ Iksuda, “the snatcher,” and IItepu, “the satisfier,” 
and that he himself is said in a cuneiform fragment from Koyunjuk, 
now in the British Museum (K. 8961), “ to recall the dead to life,” 
and (line 10) “to give life to the dead bodies.” Yet this view, 
which had already been held by Emine and V. Langlois (Collection 
des historiens anciens et modernes de ? Arménie, Paris, 1867-9, i. 26, 
note I), cannot be said to be the last word on this interesting but 
obscure point. Marduk’s dogs do not lick wounds, nor is Marduk 
himself specially famous for restoring dead heroes to life. Licking 
wounds to heal them is the most important feature of these gods or 
dog spirits. (For a parallel see p.204 of the African section of this 
volume.) Prof. Sayce saw some connexion between the Arall 
mountain and the Armenian Aralez, while another scholar has sug- 
gested Aralu or Hades as a possible explanation. Basmajian comes 
perhaps nearer to the solution. Sandalgian (Histoire documentaire 
de PArménie, ii. 599) quotes the letter of Sargon speaking of 
golden keys found in the temple of Khaldis in Mutzatzir, in the form 
of goddesses wearing the tiara, carrying the dented harp and the circle 
and treading upon dogs which made faces. But the same author (pp. 
754-759) says that arales meant for the ancient Armenians inhabitants 
of Arali (Summerian Hades), but later generations, having forgotten 


the original sense of the word, developed the myth of the Aralezes, 
from the last syllable which conveyed to them the meaning of lapping. 

59. Alishan, p. 177 f. 

60. See also Isaiah, xxxiv. 13, Jeremiah, 1. 39, in the old Armenian 

61. Alishan, p. 185. 

62. The sea-bull resembles the Celtic Water-bull, the Tarbh 
Uisge of the West Highlands, which had no ears and could assume 
other shapes. It dwelt in lochs and was friendly to man, occasion- 
ally emerging to mate with ordinary cows. The similar Tarroo 
Ushtey of the Isle of Man begets monsters. Both have a curious 
resemblance to the Bunyip, a mythical water monster of the Australian 
blacks. See J. A. MacCulloch, The Religion of the Ancient Celts, 
Edinburgh, 1911, p. 189; Mythology of All Races, Boston, 1916, 
ix. 280. 

63. Besides many of the above mentioned spirits, modern Arme- 
nians know at least two others, the Hotots and the Old Hags of the 
Swamps. The Hotots are like devils, but they are not devils. In the 
winter and in the spring they live in rivers and swamps. When they 
appear they are all covered with mire. “They do not deceive men as 
the devils do, but they allure them by all sorts of dances, jests, and 
grimaces. When the unsuspecting victim follows them for the 
sake of being amused, — and who can resist the temptation? — they 
pull and push him into their miry abode. ‘The Old Hags of the 
marshes also live in pools and swamps. ‘They are terrible to see. 
They are enormous, thick, and naked, with heads as big as bath-house 
domes, with breasts as large as lambs hanging down. Horses, oxen, 
buffaloes, men, children and other living beings are drawn into their 
watery abode and drowned by them. (Pshrank, pp. 171-172.) 
See also Appendix VI, “‘ The Finger Cutters of Albania.” 

CHapTrer XII 

1. See E. W. Lane, Arabian Nights, i., notes on the first chapter, 
or his Arabian Society in the Middle Ages, ed. by S. Lane-Poole, 
London, 1883, p. 106 f.; also the extravagant cosmogony in the first 
chapter of ath-Tha‘labi’s Qisas al~anbiyé. 

2. See chap. iii., part 3, on Tyr; also Abeghian, p. 16 f., and 
Pshrank, p. 168. 

3- Herodotus (iv. 127) tells us that the Scythians challenged Darius 
who was invading their country and anxiously seeking an encounter 

NOTES 397 

with the retreating barbarians, to violate the graves of their kings, if 
he wished to force them to fight. 

4. The temptation is very great to read in this light the well-known 
report of Herodotus (v. 4) that the Thracians mourned at a birth but 
were very joyful at a death. ‘The father of historians and folk-lorists, 
whose bias to see in everything Thracian some sign of belief in im- 
mortality was strong, may be describing a Thracian funeral only 
imperfectly, i.e., through the very noisy funeral-feast. The funeral- 
feast is and was a widely spread custom. See artt. “ Death and Dis- 
posal of the Dead,” ERE, iv. 411 ff., “ Feasting,” zb., v. 801 ff.; and 
W. Caland, Die vorchristlichen baltischen Totengebrauche, ARW iii. 

5. For more details on burial customs among the Armenians, see 
Abeghian, p. 16f; Pshrank, p. 256, and “ Funeral Rites” in EBr”™, 
Xl. 329. 

6. A. V. W. Jackson, Die Iranische Religion, in Geiger and 
Kuhn, Grundriss, ii. 685. 

7. Vendidad, iii. 35. Darkness was also the distinguishing feature 
of the house of Lie. 

8. Pshrank, p. 198. 

g. For the more Avestic form of this myth, see A. V. W. Jackson, 
Die Iranische Religion, in Geiger and Kuhn, Grundriss, ii. 663f. 
See also Mythology of All Races, Boston, 1917, vi. 320. That a dread, 
alarming dragon, who flies above the entire realm of air, and terrifies 
Jove and the other gods, as well as the powers of Hades, will bring 
the world to an end, is known also to Apuleius. (Bk. iv. 33, 35.) 

10. Pshrank, p. 234; Abeghian, p. 20. © 

11. J. A. Stewart, The Myths of Plato, London, 1905 (the myth 
of Er, Repub., 613E to 621D, with parallel trans., pp. 134-151; 
observations on the myth of Er, pp. 152-172). 


Citation by author’s name refers to the same in the Bibliography. Where 
an author has written several works they are distinguished as [a], [b], 
[c], ete. 


1. The type is what strikes the newcomer among any people, just 
as a stranger will often perceive the family resemblance between 
brothers and sisters who are considered most unlike by their own 
relatives. A Welsh schoolfellow once told me that “all English 
people looked alike” to her, when she first came out of Wales into 

2. Chatelain, pp. 16,17. 

3. Ibid., p. 22. Chatelain, after stating what I believe to 
be perfectly true, that “the myths and tales of the negroes in 
North, Central and South America are all derived from African 
prototypes,” goes on to say: “ Through the medium of the American 
negro, African folk-lore has exercised a deep and wide influence 
over the folk-lore of the American Indian.” This I take leave to 
doubt. It will scarcely apply, one would think, to remote tribes in 
the Amazon basin; and, since I have found how closely the adventures 
of the Mouse-deer in the Malay Peninsula correspond to those of 
Brer Rabbit (see Mythology of All Races, Boston, 1916, ix. 203), 
and have been told of parallels in Gaelic folk-lore (unpublished as 
far as I know), I incline more and more to the view that the same or 
similar incidents may occur to people independently all over the 
world, and receive in each case the appropriate local setting. Of 
course this is not to deny the possibility of derivation in other cases. 

4. The “semi-Bantu” or “ Bantoid” languages, which are dis- 
cussed and illustrated in Sir. H. H. Johnston’s Comparative Study of 
the Bantu and Semi-Bantu Languages, may prove to be a series of 
connecting links which will leave the linguistic dividing-line less clear 
than we had supposed. Meinhof and Westermann’s theory as to the 
origin of the Bantu languages would, if substantiated, tend in the same 

5. Colenso, s. v. inkata. 

6. Roscoe, [a], p. 369. 

7. D. A. Talbot, p. 157. See also two interesting letters on 

NOTES 399 

this subject by Mr. James Stuart (a magistrate of many years’ 
experience among the Zulus) and Mr. N. W. Thomas in the 
Atheneum for May 29, 1915. 

8. This word is not, in South Africa, applied to unmixed “ na- 
tives,’ such as Zulus or Basuto. Most Cape Hottentots are of 
mixed blood, as a result of slavery in the past. 

9. JAS, xii. 119421, 74, 

10. Hollis, [a], p. 330. The smiths are spoken of by Hollis as 
though they were Masai, but it is probable that they were originally 
a distinct tribe. 

11. E. g., Nyanja, mi-zimu; Chwana, ba-dimo; Chaga, wa-rimu; 
Duala, be-dimo; Swahili, wa-zimu. It is worth noting that the 
same root, with a different prefix, is used to denote the monstrous 
cannibals or ogres who figure in so many Bantu fairy-tales — ama- 
zimu, madimo, mazimwi, marimu, etc. Duala, exceptionally, uses 
the same word for both. 

12. Tylor, i. 328-41, where these stories are explained as nature- 

13. Meinhof, [c], p. 110. 

14. This, as we have seen, must not be taken too absolutely, but 
it would be interesting to ascertain if, and how far, legends of the 
“‘ dreadfulness”? of the Abatwa exist in parts where the earlier 
population has been peaceably absorbed. 

15. Ellis, [a], p. 208. 

CHapTerR I 

. Ellis, [a], p. 28. 

. Rattray, [c], pp. 10, 11. 

. Taylor, [b], p. 47. 

1 Ae DO. 22, 7%, 

. Dennett, [b], p. 167. 

. Rattray, [c], pp. 20, 21. Ellis spells Nyankupon, Rattray 
Onyankopong. ‘The diacritic marks used by the latter have not been 

7. Torday and Joyce, pp. 20, 24, 38, 41, 120. “ Bumba” is 
evidently from the verb bumba (umba) used in many Bantu lan- 
guages for “ make,” in the sense of shaping, moulding, as clay, etc. 
Lubumba is the name of the Creator among the Baila and other 
people living east of the Bushongo. 

Wier Cs Oe gS 

g. Chatelain, p. 10. 

10. Dennett, [a], p. 2. 

OW WD et 


11. [bid., p. 133. 

12. Smith, p. 300. 

13. Macdonald, i. 59-75, esp. pp. 66-7. 

14. Hetherwick, JRAI xxxii. [1902], 89-95. 

15. Bleek, Comparative Grammar, § 390. 

16. Ibid., [a], p. 112. 

17. Junod, [c], ii. 405. 

18. Ibid., ii. 281. 

19. Lbid., ii. 390. 

20. Lbid., ii. 392. 

21. [bid., ii. 3227-8. 

22. Dundas, JRAI xliii [1913], 31. 

23. Callaway, [b], pp. 7, 16, 19, etc. As to Unkulunkulu, there 
has never been any doubt that this means “the great, great one,” 
being a reduplication of the root -kulu, “ great.” But why is it not 
“ Umkulumkulu,” as one would expect, for a noun of the person- 
class? Perhaps inkosi was originally understood, — inkosi-enkulun- 
kulu would be “ the great, great chief ”; and to make this adjective 
into a proper name, the initial vowel alone, not the whole prefix, 
would be dropped and w substituted. 

24. Literally “reed.” ‘The connection between reeds and human 
origins will be considered in the next chapter. 

25. Van der Burot, p. 214. 

26. Roscoe, [a], p. 290f. 

27. Ibid., p. 312f. That is, officially recognized under the old 
régime, prior to the introduction of Mohammedanism and Christianity. 

26. ibia, pp. 146,°47 3. 

29. Junod, [c], ii. 281. 

30. Chatelain, p. 10. 

31. Torday and Joyce, p. 20. 

32. Jacottet, [b], iii. 118. 

22: AOI. dl. FO2 

34. Fiilleborn, p. 316. 

35. Jacottet, [b], iii, 118. 

36. Macdonald, i. 295. 

37. Orpen, quoted by A. Lang, Myth, Ritual, and Religion, 
London, 1906, ii. 35f. 

38. Dennett, [a], p. 74. In an Angola story (Chatelain, No. xiii) 
“the Sun’s people ” idee to earth by a spider’s thread, to fetch 
water. Can there be a hint here of the sun’s rays drawing up moisture? 
English country people speak of “ the sun drawing water,” when the 
rays become visible as pencils of slanting light in a cloudy sky. 

39. Callaway, [a], p. 152 (ubani ongapot *igodi lokukupuka aye 

NOTES 401 

ezulwini?); [b], p. 56. The spider’s thread or a rope or a vine 
as a means of ascent occurs in Polynesia, Melanesia, and Indonesia 
(see Mythology of All Races, Boston, 1916, ix. 66). Descent or 
ascent by a basket or cord or spider’s thread occurs among American 
tribes, north and south (idid., x. 290; W. H. Brett, Legends and 
Myths of the Aboriginal Tribes of British Guiana, London, 1880, 
p. 29.) 

40. Junod, [c], ii. 410; [a], p. 237, note 2. 

4%. Ibid., lal oc 237. 

42. Callaway, [a], p. 147, and see note at end of the story. 

43. Gutmann, [a], pp. 5, 6. 

44. Ibid., [b], p. 153. The word translated “ kraal” is itimba 
in Ovir’s version, which means the little pen in which lambs and kids 
are placed for safety during the daytime, while the flocks are grazing. 
Raum has tembo, as to the translation of which he seems doubtful. 
Gutmann renders it by “ Hof des Mondes.” 

45. See Mythology of All Races, Boston, 1916, ix. 72, 78. 

46. Gutmann, [b], p. 152. 

47. Ibid., pp. 149, 150. 

48. See note 41, supra. 

49. Fiilleborn, p. 335. 

50. Macdonald, i. 298. 

51. Gutmann, [a], p. 34. 

52. Cronise and Ward, p. 265. 

53. Tremearne (No. 84), p. 401. 

54. Ibid. (No. 93), p. 424. 

..55- Gutmann, [b], p. 132. 

CuHapTer II 

Junod, [c], ii. 280. 

Macdonald, i. 74. 

Ibid., 1. 284. 

Torday and Joyce, p. 20. 

Ibid., p. 39. 

s Taiaiadenii obtained from Bwana Amiu, an old Somali trader 
living at Mambrui, who had had dealings with the Wasanye and knew 
them well. He said the tree was that called Mkupa by the Swahili 
and Garse (a@ pronounced almost like uw in “but,” though the 
Wasanye give it the broad sound of a in “ father”) by the Galla, 
and that it played an important part in marriage and funeral cere- 
monies. This last statement was confirmed by the Wasanye at 

ORO bm 


7. Callaway, [b], pp. 9, 15, 31ff., 41. 

8. Ibid., pp. 15, 42. 

9. Colenso, p. 213, last note, under Hlanga (U); cf. the Chwana 
use of the corresponding form, lo-tlhaka, which clearly means “a 

10. Callaway, [b], p. 42. 

11. Casalis, [b], p. 254. 

12. Junod, [c], ii. 326. 

13. SAFJ ii. [1880], 92f.; also Irle, pp. 28, 75. 

14. Casalis, [b], p. 54. 

15. Quoted in Werner, p. 71; for Kapirimtiya see Scott, p. 215, 
and Macdonald, i. 279. Cf. Moffat, p. 263. 

16. Stow, pp. 37; 47 

17. [bid., p. 3. 

18. Hollis, [a], p. 226. 

To ire, -p.. 76; 

20. Hollis, [a], p. 266. 

21. Stannus, JRAJ, xliii. [1913] r21f. 

22. Roscoe, [a], p. 214. Here it is only said that Kintu was “ sup- 
posed ” to be descended from the gods. ‘The Galla (with whom the 
royal house of the Baganda is believed to have affinities) distinctly 
state that the progenitor of the Uta Laficho (their principal clan) 
came down from the sky. 

23. Manuel, p. 149; Roscoe, [a], p. 460. 

24. Emiumbo —i.e., bundles of plantains tied up in leaves for 

25. The list includes maize and sweet potatoes, which, as they 
were introduced into Africa by the Portuguese only in the 16th century, 
must have been inserted in modern recensions of the legend. 

26. Roscoe, [a], pp. 136, 214. 

27. Stanley, pp. 218-220. 

28. JAS xii. [1912-13], 363-4. 

29. Hollis, [a], p. 153. 

30. Ibid., [b], p. 98. 

ai: Melland and Cholmeley, p. 21. See also the Nyanja tale of 
“‘ Kachirambe ” in Rattray [a] p. 133. 

32. Hahn, pp. 37, 38, 48, etc. 

33. Ibid., p. 61; Moffat, p. 258. 

34. Ibid., p. 122ff. 

35. Kroenlein, p. 329. 

36. Schultze, p. 447. 

37. Hahn, p. 61; see also pp. 65-74, 86-89, 92, and Schultze 

NOTES 403 

38. Kerr Cross in Nyasa News, No. 6 (Nov. 1894), p. 189; 
also Fiilleborn, p. 316; Merensky, pp. 112, 212. © 
39. Melland and Cholmeley, 20. 

CuHapTer III 

. Callaway, [b], p. 3. 

. Scott, p. 419. 

. Fiilleborn, p. 15. 

. Junod, [c], ii. 328. 

Occasional Paper for Nyasaland, No. 2 [1893], p. 36. 
. Taylor, [b], p. 136. 

. Macdonald, i. 288. 

. Jacottet, [b], ii. 111. 

. Ibid., [b], iii. 116. 

10. [bid., [b], ii. 109 (a different story from that referred to 
in note 8), 

11. Kropf, [a], p. 156. 

12. Krapf, [b], s. v. myjisikafiri (sic), p. 230, and gisikafiri 
(sic), p. 83. 

13. Duala stories given in MSOS iv. [1901], 223 (A frikanische 
Studien), cf. also, p. 181. 

14. Christaller, in Biittner [a], i. 53ff. 

15. Globus, Sept. 23, 1909, p. 174. 

16. Meinhof, [b], p. 19. 

17. Wundt, cited by Meinhof, [b], p. 18. 

18. Meinhof, [c], p. 38. cf. MSOS iv. 183. 

19. Bleek, [b], pp. 69-73. 

20. See Schultze, pp. 147-8. 

21. Lloyd, [b], p. 37. 

22. Hollis, [b], p. 98. 

23. For an illustration of this tube see Hollis, [b], p. 26. More 
ornamental ones are made by the Baganda. 

24. See Man, xiii. [1913], 90. 

25. Abarea did not say, but on reflection I think that he must have 
meant, that the bird was afterwards deprived of his topknot, as having 
proved a faithless messenger. The species of hornbill with which 
I am tempted to identify him, has no crest. 

26. Gutmann, [a], p. 124; [b], pp. 119, 156. 

27. A Masai and Nandi “ burial” custom, borrowed by the 
Kikuyu and others. The ceremonies connected with this exposure 
(see Hollis, [a], p. 304, [b], p. 70). show that it is not a case of 
callous indifference. 

oom Dn WD 



28. Gutmann, [a], p. 125. 

29. Ibid., [a], p. 125, [b], p. 40. 

30. Gutmann, [a], pp. 124-5; [b], p. 65. 

31. This suggests the practice of witches (see infra. ch. xiv). But 
there is a close connection between hyenas and witches. 

32. In this case it was not the woman who was to blame. 

33. Roscoe, [a], p. 315 and, for Mpobe, p. 465; Manuel, pp. 
161, 179. 

34. Seidel [b], iii, (1897), p. 363: “ Mugosha, bana bamwe 
babili ne Lirufu.” With this notion of Lirufu, cf. M. Kingsley, 
p. 117: “One side of him” —a spirit supposed to haunt the Bush 
in Calabar, Cameroons and the Ogowe region — “is rotten and 
putrefying, the other sound and healthy, and it all depends on which 
side of him you touch whether you see the dawn again or no.” 

35. Chatelain, pp. 95, 225, 274 (note 251), 304, 308. 

36. Ibid., p. 249, cf. also p. 223, story of “ King Kitamba kia 

37. Ibid., pp. 11, 274 (note 245), 283-4. 

38. Thomann, pp. 134, 138, 143. 

39. “Tom Tit Tot,’ ‘ Rumpelstilzchen,” etc. The motive 
occurs in a Jamaica story given by Jekyll, p. 11 (cf. also “ Mr. 
Titman ” in Smith, p. 20), but this is probably of European origin. 

CuHapTrer IV 

1. See Kingsley, especially chapters 5 to 9; Spieth and Ellis, 

2. Raum, pp. 334 ff. Cf. Gutmann, [a], pp. 142-7. 

26 Gutmann, [b|,, ps-152. 

4. Mzimu or mu-zimu as a locative appears to be used in Swahili 
for a place in which offerings are made to the spirits (see Krapf, 
s. v.). Zimwi (originally li-zimwi, and therefore cognate with 
Zulu i-zimu, Sutu le-dimo) means a kind of ogre or demon, like 
the irimu of the Wachaga, Wakikuyu, etc. ‘The word is more or 
less obsolete in ordinary Swahili, having been replaced by the im- 
ported shetani or jini. 

5. See Callaway, [b], p. 148, note. Perhaps the meaning may 
be “people of our stock” (“seed”), see i-dlozi in Kropf’s Kaffir 

6. In Swahili, the names of animals, whatever their grammatical 
form — they usually have the ninth prefix or its equivalent — are 
given the concords of the person-class. In some languages, while 

NOTES 405 

retaining their own class in the singular, they are given a special 
plural prefix. 
7. Werner, p. 46. 


: Thidi Tal, o, 346 

. Casalis, [b], p. 261. 

. Callaway, [a], p. 318. 
. Tbid., p. 317. 

Callaway, [b], p. 144. 
Raum, p. 338. : 
Gutmann, [a], p. 129. 
Ibid., [b], pp. 104, 131-2. 

_ Obst, in Mitteilungen aus den deutschen Schutzgebieten, ii 

[1900], 130. 

b, £Oids5:/ [C]5 aL 250. 

. Ibid., ii. 379. 

» Ibid., i. 356, 358. 

. Scott, s.v. mkalango, p. 450. 
. Strychnos sp. 

. Junod, [b], p. 305. 

. Ibid., pp. 385, 388. 

. Rehse, p. 388. 

- Junod, [c], ii. 359. 

. See Meinhof, [b], p. 18. 
. Callaway, [b], p. 142. 

. Ibid., p. 198. 

- Macdonald, i. 62. 

. Callaway, [b], p. 199. 

. Junod, [c], ii. 312, 358. 

. Callaway, [b], p. 215. 

Melland, p. 24. 
Gutnann, Lb}; Pp... 408; ete. 
Raum, p. 336. 
Gutmann, [b], p. 107. 
Ibid., [a], pp. 169ff. 
Raum, p. 336. 

Tbid., loc. cit. 
Gutmann, [b], p. 109. 
Ibid., p. 106. 

Tbid., loc. cit. 

Velten, [c], p. 180. 
Scott, p. 416. 

Junod, [b], p. 387. 



1. Gutmann, [b], p. 104. 

2. Some of these stories, relating rather to an upper than an under 
world, have already been mentioned in Chap. 1. 

3. Junod, [a], p. 264; but see his note on this story. 

4. Callaway, [a], p. 331. 

5. Tylor, i. 338. 

6. Callaway, [a], p. 296. 

7. As we shall see in Chapter XIV, certain animals (or familiar 
spirits in their shape? ) are employed as messengers by witches. The 
leopard is certainly counted as one of these in Nyasaland — though 
not so prominent as the owl and the hyena; and this is given as a 
reason why the Zulus never mention his proper name, imgwe, in 
ordinary conversation — calling him isilo “ (the) wild beast,” par 
excellence. At the same time, /silo was a title of the Zulu kings and 
(as in Uganda) no one outside the royal house might wear or use 
a leopard-skin. See also (for the Lower Congo), Dennett [a], p. 69. 
Is there any connection between these two ideas? or do they belong to 
entirely separate streams of tradition? 

8. A legend attached to a ruined site, near Kipini, called Kwa 
Waanawali Sabaa, relates how seven little maids, pursued by Galla 
raiders, called to God for help, when the earth opened and swallowed 
them up. (Information obtained on the spot in 1912.) 

9. This “ False Bride” motive recurs in various African stories; 
a good example (combined with the “ Holle” motive) is the tale of 
the Kirondovo in Gutmann, [a], pp. 34-6. 

10. Grimm, Kinder- und Hausmarchen, No. 24, with some (not 
all) of the variants enumerated in Bolte and Polivka, i. 207f; Hausa, 
“The Ill-Treated Maiden,” Tremearne, p. 426; Temne, “‘ The 
Devil’s Magic Eggs,” Cronise and Ward, p. 265. 

11. J. Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie, Gottingen, 1835, p. 164, 
etc. English variants of the Holle story in Halliwell-Phillips, p. 39, 
J. Jacobs, English Fairy Tales, London, 1890, No. 43, More English 
Fairy Tales, Ib., No. 64; West India, in Smith, p. 31, “ Mother 

-12. Gutmann, [b], p. 117, Nos. 63, 68; Junod, [a], p. 237. 

13. Co-wives, in “Three Women,” p. 110; in Chaga tale, 
Gutmann, [a], pp. 34-6; Duala, in Lederbogen, MSOS vi. [1904], 
82; Konde, a tale mentioned by Fiilleborn, p. 335. 

14. Tremearne, p. 401. 

15. “ Kgolodikane,” SAFJ i. [1879], 110. 

16. Notes 9 and 13, supra. 

NOTES 407 

17. Gutmann, [b], p. 118. 

18. See Note 16, to Chapter IV. 

19. Gutmann, [b], p. 110, cf. also [a], p. 36. 

20. Probably a tabu affecting one returned from the spirit-world. 

21. Zimmermann, i. 163, cf. “ Candoo” in Smith, p. 28. 

22. This no doubt refers to the retribution which was to follow 
disobedience. But it is not clear why, after coming to pieces and 
being restored to life, Anansi should be let off with a beating after 
his second transgression. Perhaps the incident is intended to account 
for the spider’s patched and mottled appearance. 

23. SAFJ, i. [1879], 75. 

24. Wolff, p. 135. 

25. Chatelain, p. 127. 

CuHaPpTer VI 

1. Cf. Mythology of All Races, Boston, 1916, x. 255, 298. 

2. Junod, [c], ii. 327-8, see also pp. 279-80; Merensky, in 
Mitteilungen der geogr. .Gesellschaft zu Jena, vi. [1888], 111-4; 
Meinhof, [b], p. 33; [c], p. 117. 

3- Callaway, [a], pp. 3-40. 

4. Macdonald, i. 297. 

5. Chatelain, p. 131, “ The Son of Kimanaueze,” especially pp. 

6. Dennett, [a], pp. 7, 74. For Duala, see Lederbogen in MSOS 
iv. [1902], pt. 3, passim. 

7- Rehse, pp. 134, 371. Ryang’ombe, the “Eater of Cattle,” 
seems to be known also among the Bahima (Roscoe, [b], p. 134, 
speaks of “the fetish Lyagombe”), the Warundi (Van der Burgt, 
p. 216), and the Wanyaruanda (idem., and P. Loupias in Anthropos, 
iii, [1908], 6). Van der Burgt explains his name as meaning possibly 
“celui qui coupe les cordes du prisonnier”; he is the chief of 
departed spirits (so also Rehse, p. 134), and was once a man, but 
after his death took up his abode in the Kirunga volcano. ‘As the 
word ng’ombe is still used for “cattle” in Kiziba, where also the 
legend of his ox-eating exploits (on the day of his birth! ) is current, 
but not among the other peoples named, it is possible that his name 
and cult were adopted by the latter, while the meaning of the name 
and perhaps of the legend was forgotten. It is remarkable that, 
while Rehse says his cult in Kiziba is confined to the Bahima (the 
Hamitic ruling race who came in from the north), in Ruanda, ac- 
cording to P. Loupias, the royal family (with one exception expressly 
mentioned) and high chiefs are never initiated into his mysteries, 


which belong to the Bahutu, the Bantu people previously in occupation. 

8. Dempwolff in Ehrenreich, iv. 249, Rattray, [a], p. 133; 
Macdonald, ii. 336. 

g. A hyena in two cases, which is no doubt the earlier form of 
the incident. In the Nyanja version (Rattray, [a], pp. 54, 133) 
there is an unexplained peculiarity; a girl finds a hyena’s egg and 
carries it home to her mother, who puts it into the fire. The Hyena 
comes to demand the egg and has to be appeased with the promise 
of the unborn child. I have come across no other reference to the 
eggs of the hyena, though there seems to be a widespread idea that 
its reproductive organs are abnormal. 

10. Hahn, p. 134; Schultze, p. 447. 

11. Hahn, pp. 65-7; Bleek, [b], pp. 77, 78-9; Meinhof, [a], 
pp. 172-7; Schultze, p. 447. 

12. Meinhof, [a], p. 177. 

13. Hahn, p. 66; Bleek, [b], p. 77; Schultze, pp. 448, 450. 

14. Bleek, [b], p. 78. 

15. Hahn, pp. 85, 86, 92. 

16. Schultze, p. 450. 

17. Meinhof, [a], p. 172. 

18. Probably it is a hole dug in a sandy river-bed during the 
dry season, when the water trickles out so slowly that it takes a long 
time to secure a supply. 

19. Hahn, pp. 42, 43, 45, etc., and references there given to 
Kolbe and others. | 

20. Bleek, [b], p. 80; Meinhof, [a], p. 174. The berries called 
“‘ wild raisins” are the fruits of a shrub called by the Herero omu- 

ae Properly !Uriseb (with cerebral click and high tone on first 
syllable), also spelled Urisib and Urisip. It is symptomatic of the 
chaotic state into which Hottentot traditions have fallen, that 
Schultze’s informants make Uriseb the son of Géa-gorib, the 
‘“‘ Thruster-down,” whom, as a matter of fact, they only mention 
as ‘‘ Uriseb’s father” (p. 448). There is also considerable con- 
fusion between Tsui-Goab and Haitsi-aibeb, if the two are not identi- 
cal, as Hahn thinks. 

22. Junod, [c], ii. 327-8. 

23. Merensky, “ Till Eulenspiegel in Afrika,” in Mitteilungen 
der geogr. Gesellschaft zu Jena, vi. [1888], 111f. 

24. Callaway, [a], p. 3. 

25. Ibid., pp. 37-40. This story is elsewhere given to the hare 
(for variants see FL xv. [1909], 344; African Monthly, vii. [1910] 
247). Since writing the article in the latter I have discovered several 

NOTES 409 

other versions, notably a Hottentot one (Schultze, p. 415), and “ The 
Hare’s Hoe,” to which Junod ([c], ii. 223) says he knows of no 
African parallel. The existence of well-marked Berber and South 
European variants seems to point to its having come into Africa from 
the Mediterranean region, and to have been adapted by the natives 
in some cases (not in all) to the myth of their favourite animal. 
Thus the Hottentot, the European, and the Berber versions make 
the protagonist a human being or the jackal; the Bantu usually tell it 
of the hare, though sometimes of a boy (Luyi), a girl (Herero), an 
old woman (Bena-Kanioka), or a man (Nyasaland, Elmslie, FL iii. 
[1892], 92), and West Africans of the spider, cf. Tremearne, pp. 
237, 367, 380, and reff. there given; Schultze, p. 415. 

26. Rehse, p. 155. 

27. Baumann, [b], p. 186. 

28. Tylor, ii. 335f. 

29. See Breysig, pp. 10, 17, etc. 

30. Jacottet,[c], p. 70, another version, p. 76; see also [a], p. 204, 
and Casalis, [a], p. 97. 

31. Cf. Khwai-hemm of the Bushmen (infra, p. 289); Isiququ- 
madevu und Usilosimapundu of the Zulus (Callaway [a], pp. 34, 
86, 184); Seedimwe of the Subiya (Jacottet, [b], ii. 54, 61, 67), etc. 
In Kikuyu (Routledge, p..309) the Swallower is the Rainbow. 

32. Junod, [a], p. 201; cf. also Kachirambe (Rattray, [a], 
p. 133). 

33. Breysig, p. 12. 

34. Thomann, p. 145. 

35. A pumpkin of similar character is found in a Shambala tale 
(Seidel, [b], p. 174), in Swahili (Kibaraka, p. 25), and in Hausa 
(Rattray, [b], pp. 300, etc.). 

36. Similarly, Kalikalanje (Macdonald, ii. 339) kills his mother, 
after destroying the demon Namzimu. 

CuHaptTer VII 

1. Schultze, p. 387. 

2. Breysig, pp. 18f., 39; for Marduk, pp. 105, 108, 

3. Meinhof, [b], p. 20, see also p. 17. 

4. Spieth, in Abhandlungen des deutschen Kolonialkongresses, — 
for 1905, p. 504. 

5. S. Reinisch, Sitzungsberichte der philos. histor. Klasse der Kais. 
Akad. der Wissenchaftem in Wein, cxlviii. [1904], Abh. v. 93, cited 
by Meinhof, [b], p. 17. 

6. Lloyd, [b], p. 67. 


7. Ibid., pp. 38, 53. 

8. Bleek, [c], p. 93 Lloyd, [b], pp. 38-9, 51, 53. 

9. Lloyd, [b], p. 399. 

10. Barnes, p. III. 

11. Taylor, [b], p. 97. 

12. Bentley, pp. 161, 381. 

13. Ibid., p. 370. 

14. Hahn, pp. 23, 43, 74, ete. 

15. Plural of Kisnia = Swahili Kilimia, “ the hoeing star,” from 
lima, “hoe.” The name is almost universal among Bantu tribes, 
from the Tana to the Great Fish River. “The Pokomo and the Yaos, 
and possibly a few others, make the word a plural: the group is gen- 
erally treated as one body. 

16. Lloyd, [b], pp. 85-98. Bleek, [c], p. 11, gives a somewhat 
different version, quoted in Lloyd, p. 96. “The two versions have been 
combined in the text. 

17. Torrend, p. 314; ‘Theal, [a], pp. 56-66, [b], p. 323. 

18. Lloyd, [b], pp. 73ff. 

19. Gutmann [a], p. 149. 

20. Lloyd, [b], pp. 45-55. 

21. Hollis, [b], p. 97. 

22. Gutmann, fal, p. 178. Ellis ([b], p. 65) records a similar 
notion of the Ewe, but it is possible that he misunderstood his infor- 
mants, as nothing is said of it in Spieth’s more recent work, based 
on much fuller material. 

23. Gutmann, [a], p. 177. For greeting of new moon, see 
Taylor, [b], pp. 49, 63. (Giryama); Van der Burgt, p. 235 
(Warundi); Dennett, [a], p. 7. 

24. Gutmann, [a], p. 180, [b], p. 144. 

25. Dennett, [b], pp. 113, 142. 

26. Spieth, p. 533; Ellis, [b], pp. 47-9. For a Hausa tradition, 
see Fletcher, p. 94. 

27. Cf. Dahse in ZE xliii. [1911], 46-56. 

28. Jacottet, [b], ii. 146, cf. also for Luyi, ili. 139. 

29. Callaway, [a], pp. 293-5. 

30. Gutmann, [b], p. 153, “ Der durchhauene Regenbogen.” 

31. Routledge, p. 308. 

32. Ibid., p. 309. 

33. Jacottet, [c], p. 56, and note on p. 58. 

34. Callaway, [b], p. 383, cf. Mythology of All Races, Boston, 
1916, x. 287f. 

35- Rehse, pp. 129, 146. Kayurankuba is said to be a son of the 
lake-spirit Mugasha (apparently identical with the Mukasa of the 


Baganda). According to some, Kayurankuba causes thunder by 
striking the rocks (with his spear? ). Cf. the legend given by Rehse, 
Pp. 329. : 

36. Hewat, p. 91. 

37. Gutmann, [a], p. 178. 

38. Dennett, [a], p.7; the story given below is also referred to 
in [b], p. 119. 

39. Gutmann, [b], p. 149, and the curious legend in Rehse, p. 388. 

40. Dennett, [b], p. 120. 

41. Ibid., [a], pp. 133-4. 

42. See pp. 117, 118, 132, supra. 

43. Hollis [a], pp. xix, 264-5, cf. p. 278. Merker, however, 
(p. 197), says that the expressions Ng’ai nanjugi and Ng’ai narok 
are not to be taken in the sense given in the text, but really mean, 
“the divine red” and the “divine black” (or “ blue”), being ap- 
plied to the red of sunrise and sunset, and to the cloudless sky. 
“Tatsachlich sehen die Leute in diesen Erscheinungen keine Gétter, 
auch nichts Gott ahnliches oder gleich ihm zu verehrendes.” At 
the same time he admits that God is often called Ng’ai narok in 
prayers, but the Masai themselves are unable to explain this epithet. 
Thunder and lightning, according to this authority, are not inde- 
pendent beings, but the phenomena produced by Ng’ai’s eldest son, 
Ol gurugur, who thus “ verkiindet . . . dass Gott den Menschen 
wegen ihres schlechten Betragens grollt, und ermahnt sie zugleich 
zur Besserung.” Barsai, Ng’ai’s eldest daughter, is responsible for 
the rain, which is a sign that God is well pleased with the state of 
things on earth. Others have taken Ng’ai as a personification of rain. 

44. Lloyd, p. xv. 

45. Steere, SAFJ, i. [1879], 121. 

_ 46. Swahili sea-lore, of course, is largely borrowed from the Arabs 
and perhaps from Indonesia, whence came the outrigger canoe and, 
no doubt, the coconut. There are some mysterious beings: Makame, 
— whose rock is at the back of Mombasa Island, between the Indian 
burning-ghat and Mzizima—and Sheikh Manamana, to whom 
boatmen make offerings as they pass, throwing some trifle into the 
water. I have not been able to discover anything about Makame 
of Mombasa, but a legend (too vaguely and fragmentarily heard 
to be recorded) about a similar person near the north point of Zan- 
zibar Island, suggests that he was originally a drowned man. The 
sea is called Mbu by the Congo Bavili (Dennett, [a], p. 8; [b], 
pp. 114, 123) and its indwelling spirit (who is also the North Wind) 

47. See pp. 126, 179, supra. 


CuaptTer VIII 

1. Klamroth, “ Die religidsen Vorstellungen der Saramo,” ZKS 
i. [1910], 37, 118, 189. A most valuable document. 

2. Spieth, p. 684. 

3. A. Werner, “ Pokomo Folk-lore,”’ FL xxiv. [1913], 469-72. 

4. By a writer in Blackwood’s Magazine, November, 1917, who, 
however, calls the creature ngoloko. (This name I heard applied, 
by the Pokomo, to a certain fabulous serpent of gigantic size. See 
the above-quoted paper in FL p. 467.) ‘The writer of the article 
was shown a curious footprint alleged to be that of the “ mgoloko ”; 
but I learn from a correspondent that a European who had seen a 
tracing made from this footprint pronounced it to be that of an 
ostrich, and this is confirmed from the testimony of another person, 
who had himself examined the footprint. | A Swahili correspondent 
at Lamu writes: ‘‘ As to the Ngoloko, it is true: the Lamu people 
call him by the name of milhoi; people sometimes see him, and the 
man who sees him — if the milhoi does not succeed in killing him — 
loses his senses. “The 2milhoi is tall and has one leg like that of an 
ass.” If he meets a man, he begins by asking him the names of 
all his relations, and then, if he stands still in astonishment, he 
strikes him with his claw. But if you recognise him in time, you 
can put him to flight by threatening to strike him with a saw — the 
only thing he fears. (The reason for this is that he has seen huge 
trees sawn through in the forest and cannot understand how so 
small an instrument produces so great an effect a touch of actu- 
ality which must have been introduced in recent times.) The writer 
goes on to say that he knows an old man at Witu, who has seen 
and wrestled with the milhoi (this, not explicitly stated elsewhere, 
is a point of contact with Chiruwi) and lost his senses in consequence. 
“And in the books of Islam there is the account of him: they say 
he originated with the jimm who ascended to heaven to listen to 
the voices of the angels” [the MS. has “of the jinn,” but I feel sure 
this is a clerical error], “and were struck down with zimwondo ”’ 
[presently explained to be shooting stars] “‘by the angels.” (See 
also Steere, 1884, p. 240, s. v. milhoi.) Of course this account is 
coloured by various—no doubt partly literary — influences. 

5. Hollis, [a], pp. 127, 265. 

6. Schultze, p. 392. 

7. Ibid., pp. 404, 448. 

8. Taylor, [b], p. 32. 

9. FL xxiv. 472. 

Io. Scott, p. 97. 

NOTES 413 

11. Krapf, [b], pp. 162, 387. 

12. Colenso, p. 592; Kidd, [a], p. 127. 

13. Chatelain, p. 91. For one-legged beings in Celtic folk-lore 
(the Fachan), see J. F, Campbell, Popular Tales of the West High- 
lands, Edinburgh, 1890, iv. 298. For Melanesian one-legged 
beings see C. E. Fox and F. H. Drew, JRA/ xlv. [1915], 188. 

14. MS. notes. 

15. Scott, ubi supra; Macdonald, i. 71; Stannus in Man, xv. 
[1915], 132. 

16. Smith, pp. 284, 457. 

17. Jacottet, [b], ii. 138, cf. p. 122. 

18. Junod, [a], p. 197, and [b], pp. 291, 313, 363; also Calla- 
way, [a], p. 199 and note; Tremearne, pp. 123, 212, 401, 4543 
Chatelain, pp. 32, 254, 279, 334 note; Irle, p. 76; Fiilleborn, 
PP: 55, 3353 Cronise and Ward, pp. 21, 179. For Mugasha, the 
one-legged lake-spirit of the Baziba, see Rehse, pp. 129, 146. 

19. Jacottet, [a], p. 246 (and note), [c], p. 160. With this 
story it is interesting to compare that of “ Mbukwana’s Wife and 
Daughter,” in Junod, [b], p. 241, and that of ‘“ Umxakaza-Wako- 
gingqwayo ” in Callaway (where the Half-men are called Amadh- 

20. See Jacottet’s note on “ Hase fuhlaele fu, ha u na tema fu,” 
[c], p. 164: He gives up this sentence as unintelligible, but the clue 
supplied by his rendering of the latter half, together with the hint 
that “the words are probably meant to be Zulu,” suggested the 
conjectural equivalent given in the text. 

21. See Colenso, p. 705, s. v., and Bryant, p. 756 (uMdava). 

22. P. 118, note 11, and p. 181, note 4, supra. 

23. Gutmann [b], p. 73, No. 37, “ Der wandelnde Dornbusch.” 
The following tales, Nos. 38-45, deal with the Irimu in_ his 
various manifestations: in some of them he shows affinity with the 
Werewolf. One remarkable point (p. 75) is the possession of a 
second mouth at the back of the head. This feature is known to 
the Baronga (Junod, [a], p. 257), and something like it is attributed 
to witches by the Hausa (Tremearne, pp. 154, 425, 433). 

24. Watoto na Zimwi, in Kibaraka, p. 25. Variants: T'selane, 
Jacottet, [a], p. 69, and [c], p. 62; Usitungu-sobenhle, Callaway, 
[a], p. 74; Demana and Demazana and “ The Cannibal’s Wonderful 
Bird,” Theal, [a], pp. 111, 125; “The Child and the Drum” 
(Gazaland), Kidd, [b], p. 233; Kgolodikane (Chwana), SAFJ 
i. [1879], 110; a Herero one recorded by Biittner under the title 
“Die alte Frau welche die Kinder in den Sack steckt,’ ZAS i. 
[1887], 189; Duala, Lederbogen in MSOS (Afrikanische Studien) 


vi. [1903], 78 (“ Der Madchen und der Mann”) and numerous 
others. The Hausa “ Mender of Men” (Tremearne, p. 401) 
resembles these in its opening incident: some girls, picking herbs in 
the forest, take refuge from a shower in a hollow baobab-tree; the 
Devil (here called “ Iblisi,’”— an Islamized conception) closes the 
tree and refuses to let any of them out unless she gives him her 
cloth and her necklace. All do this, except one, who accordingly 
remains imprisoned, but is fed through a hole by her mother. Here 
the tale coincides with “ Tselane ” (the reason for the girl’s being 
shut up alone is more intelligible than in the latter), and the Hyena 
who is subsequently introduced behaves exactly like the Ledimo can- 
nibal, except that he eats his victim on the spot instead of carrying 
her round in a bag. ‘The sequel, relating how the mother took her 
daughter’s bones to “the City where Men were Mended,” brings 
the story into the “ Holle” group. 

25. Cronise and Ward, pp. 172, 178. The first of these intro- 
duces the “‘ Debble ” as the Swallower (cf. Kholumodumo, etc.), with 
the additional details that he can only be split open by an enchanted 
thorn, and that an old woman among the people released insisted on 
going back for her possessions and perished in consequence. ‘The 
“‘debble ” in three other stories (pp. 152, 160, 167), while less cer- 
tainly identifiable with the zzismu, is sufficiently curious; his power of 
shape-shifting is a conspicuous feature, and in one he assumes the 
form of a bearded stone which causes every passer-by making audible 
remarks on its peculiarity, to fall down unconscious. 

26. Routledge, pp. 315, 324. 

27. Gutmann, [b], p. 73. 

28. Ibid., p. 87, No. 44, “ Die Frau des Rimu.” 

29. In the variant given by Raum, the wife accidentally discovers 
his cannibal propensities, by going into his compartment with a 
lighted torch. Here the Jrimu is a hyena, and a genuine versipellis, 
for every night, he says, “Skin, turn inside out! ” and becomes a 
hyena. Every morning, at dawn, he says, “ Hair, turn inward! ” and 
becomes a man. The Were-Hyena will reappear in Chapter XIV. 

30. No explanation is given of how she escaped: it would seem 
from what has gone before that a knowledge of the password would 
not avail to open the rock from the inside. Perhaps some detail has 
been omitted by the narrator. ‘The device by which discovery is 
delayed (the original crudity has been softened in the text) not infre- 
quently occurs in African tales, and is well known in European folk- 
lore. Sometimes, by way of euphemism, the fugitive is made to spit 
on the threshold, the hearth-stone, etc, with the results indicated above. 

31. Gutmann, [b], p. 92. 

NOTES 415 

32. Apparently growing wild—-an abnormal occurrence, for 
though a wild banana-tree is not uncommon in some parts of Africa, 
it never bears fruit. In Nyasaland it is called msorokoto (while the 
cultivated banana-plant is mtochi), and the children collect its black, 
shining seeds to string into necklaces. 

33. Supra, p. 250. Cf. also the story of “ Sultan Darai”’ in Steere’s 
Swahili Tales, where a pumpkin or cucumber-plant springs up from 
the dead mother’s grave. Here, however, the connection between the 
plant and the deceased is not immediate. 

34. Jacottet, [c], p. 4. 


»: Faylor, [b];p.. 32. 

Beech, in Man xv. [1915], 40. 

Krapf, [b], s. v. Mbilikimo, p. 214. 

. Taylor, [b], p. 35 

. Johnston, [a], p. 53. 

. Stannus, in Man xv. [1915], 131. 

. Callaway, [a], pp. 352-5. Much the same account was given 
to Chatelain (pp. 269-70) of the Batwa in Angola. In the text 
Callaway translates the word given as “ arrow” by “ bow,” but the 
original is ngomcibitsholo. It is worth noting that the bow is an 
essentially Bushman weapon, and that this word for “ arrow,” con- 
taining a click and having no recognisable Bantu analogue, probably 
belongs to the Bushman language. 

8. F. Boyle, The Savage Life, London, 1876, p. 36. 

g. Torrend, p. xv. 

10. Rosen, pp. 88ff. In the Pokomo language h corresponds to 
the cerebral ¢ of Swahili: thus, -tatu, “‘ three,” becomes -hahu. These 
same people are called Wat by the Galla. This word cannot be 
supposed to have any connection with Wa-twa, unless it were the 
original form and the Bantu had mistaken the initial Wa for a 
prefix. But this is a question of etymology, which has no place here. 

11. Van der Burgt, p. 4. 

12. Torday and Joyce, pp. 22, 39, 52. 

13. Gutmann, [a], p. 6. 

14. Ibid., [b], p. 131, No. 81. 

15. Ibid., [b], p. 132, No. 83. 

16. Ibid., [b], p. 131, No. 82. Neither of these last says any- 
thing about the big heads of the dwarfs, who seem to have in all 
respects the appearance of ordinary children. 

17. Junod, [c], ii. 405. 



18. Macdonald, i. 291. 

19. Jacottet, [b], ii. 141, gives a Subiya account of the Tulala- 
Madindi, “‘ those who sleep in holes”—a race of pygmies much 
like those described in the text, but with a physiological peculiarity, 
not elsewhere mentioned: they live only on the juices of meat, and 
their digestive arrangements are unlike those of ordinary human 
beings. In a note to this passage (p. 142), he mentions a Basuto 
legend of the little men called Lujara Marete, who are described as 
asking the usual question, “‘ Where did you see me first? ” Jacottet 
demurs to Chatelain’s account, as the Little People are never can- 
nibals, and the Amazimu never small. 


1. Frazer, 1. 1. 

2. See Livingstone, p. 12: “ The different Bechuana tribes are 
named after certain animals. . . . They also use the word ‘ bina,’ 
to dance, in reference to the custom of thus naming themselves, so 
that, when you wish to ascertain what tribe you belong to, you say, 
‘What do you dance? ’” He does not further mention the dances, 
which, no doubt, were intended to influence the totems. 

Frazer, iv. 4. 

Roscoe, [a], p. 320. 

Dundas, JRAJ xliii. [1913], 66. 

Abid. Pp. 22. 

ETISS ED |S pr 00 Cc. pp. 71, 94, 

Gutmann, [a], pp. 37-44. 

. MS., written out for me (in the “ Nyika” dialect of the 
Wierbai) by a native teacher at Kisulutini. I heard a similar story 
being related to my porters by an old woman at Fundi Isa, but was 
not able to take it down. A variant, in which the sexes are reversed, 
is given by Velten ([b], p. 71) under the title ‘‘ Geschichte von 
Sultanssohn der ein Affenkind heiratete.” The ape-maiden’s tail 
is taken charge of by her grandmother, who magnanimously says, “ I 
will wear two tails, that she may become a human being and we may 
be saved.” When she becomes proud and refuses to feed or recognise 
her relations, the grandmother returns at the head of the clan and 
hands over the tail in the face of the Sultan’s family. 

10. Gutmann, [a], p. 38. 

11. Hollis, [b], p. 6. 

12. Junod, [c], i. 336. 

13. Junod, “ Le chat de Titichane,” [a], p. 253, “ Le gambadeur 
de la plaine,” [b], p. 353, also [c], i. 338. 

2 HSI DNB yp 

NOTES 417 

14. Frazer, iv. 52-55, see also i. 125, ii. 293, 552, 561, iii. 451. 

15. Possibly we are to understand that he was invisible by day, 
as the husband, when watching the gardens at night, sees and shoots 
him. It is to be noted that the failure of the wife’s incantations 
is only final when dawn appears before the totem is completely 
resuscitated. | 

16. Mansfeld, pp. 220-3. 

17. Hollis, [b], p. 8. 

18. Where two totems are mentioned, the clan has been sub- 

19. Bentley, p. 353, s. v. mpangu. 

20. Macdonald, ii. 366. The title of this story, ““ The Girl that 
refused a Husband,” and its opening sentences belong to an entirely 
different one and have no connection with what follows. 

21. Junod, [a], pp. 138-42. 

22. Wolff, pp. 120, 132. There is a totemic touch, also, in 
Uvwikeve (Jé., pp. 112, 132) where directions are given not to kill 
the lice on an infant’s head, on the ground that they are “its soul ” 
(ntima gwa mwere). I have not, so far, come across a louse totem. 

23. An even better illustration is the story of Unyandemula 
(Wolff, pp. 123, 145), where the girl, who has run away from home 
after being punished by her parents, is swept off by a flooded river 
and discovered in the way mentioned above, when her younger sister 
comes to fetch water. She is restored to her home through the agency 
of a witch, who warns the parents that she must on no account be 
scolded, or she will turn into water — which ultimately happens. This 
is a link with the European group of “ Undine” stories; cf. also 
the Xosa “Tangalomlibo” (Torrend, p. 314; McCall Theal, 
p. 56). We are also reminded of the numerous legends in which 
totem-ancestresses, on being reproached with their origin, resume their 
former shape and are lost to their husbands. The Twi legend referred 
to in Chapter I shows quite clearly the totemic character which is quite 
obscured in the cases given in the text. 

24. Weeks, p. 361. 

25. Johnston, [c], ii. 921. 

26. Chatelain, pp. 157, 183, 197, 209. 

27. Jacottet, [c], p. 32, note. 

28. Merker, pp. 214-5. 

29. Hollis, [a], p. 107. 

30. Harris, [a], p. 61. 

31. Meinhof, [b], pp. 29, 30. 

32. E.g. Cronise and Ward, p. 296. 

33- Ie. in the tales, as distinct from his place in the myth already 


discussed. He sometimes wins a race by a trick, in a variant of the 
famous Hare and Tortoise (the European Hare and Hedgehog) story. 
He is also found in Ronga stories (cf. Junod, [a], pp. 89 117, 136). 

34. See Junod, [a], p. 87, and further, “L’Epopée de la 
Rainette,” p. 109. This frog is locally called chinana. I have seen 
it at Blantyre, in the Shire Highlands, where the Anyanja call it 
chiswenene or kaswenene (the ordinary frog is chule), but never 
heard of its figuring in folk-tales. 

35. The Parrot (Fang), the Crowned Crane (Zambezi), the 
Honey-guide (Ila), the Dog (Benga and Duala), the Gorilla (Mpon- 
gwe), the Zebra, the Swallow, etc. 

36. Theal, [b], p. 275. 

37. Junod, “ Le petit détesté,” [a], p. 170. 

38. Nassau, “‘ Borrowed Clothes,” [b], p. 198. 

39. Related in conversation by Dr. Sanderson of Nyasaland. 

40. It seems clear, from Stow’s account (pp. 32, 33); that the 
Bushmen had totems. Each tribe had its “emblem” (e.g., the 
Python, Eland, Rhinoceros, Elephant, Ostrich, etc.), ‘‘ conspicuously 
painted in some central part of the great cave of the chief of the 
clan.” Stow does not mention the Mantis among these “ emblems ” 
— but he may have outgrown the status of a mere clan totem; 
and he appears to be represented in some of the cave-paintings. 

41. I have heard the same term used for a butterfly —I think 
at Lamu. The Mantis is also called vunda-jungu, “ break the pot.” 

42. Junod, [c], ii. 312. 

43. Ibid., p. 358. 

44. Hahn, pp. 42, 45, and reff. there given. 

45. Kidd, Jal, "p.. 1833 1b}, 9.240. 

46. By the Anyanja, and the Swahili (see above, Note 41). 
The Giryama call it “break the bow” (vundza uha), probably 
with some similar notion. But the Zulu isitwalambiza simply means 
“the pot-carrier,’ from the attitude of the forelegs, which are 
raised as though carrying a burden, or—as the European prefers it 
—as if praying. (One of my earliest recollections is being told that 
the people near Trieste used to say the mantis was “ praying for rain.”) 

47. Bleek, [c], pp. 6-9; Lloyd, [a], p. 5; Bleek in his 1873 
Report, gives a list of twenty-four texts relating to the Mantis, most 
of which, unfortunately, are still unpublished. For Orpen’s account 
of the Maluti Bushmen’s “ Cagn ” (not apparently recognised as the 
Mantis), see his article in Cape Monthly Magazine, July, 1874, and 
Bleek’s comments thereon. 

48. Lloyd, [b], p. 53 

49. Bleek [c], pp. 6-9. 

NOTES 419 

50. A. Lang “Natural Theology,” in Ballades in Blue China, 
London, 1883, p. 108. 

51. Lloyd, [b], pp. 3-15. 

52. Lbid., pp. 23-33. 

53. Lloyd, [a], p. 5. 

54. Bleek, [c], p. 9. 

CuHapTrer XI 

1. Lloyd, [b], p. 61. 

2. Junod, [b], p. 280. 

3. Cf. Junod, [a], pp. 89, go. | 

4. Beech, p. 58; cf. Krapf, [b], p. 152. ‘“‘ Kipanawazi(sic), a 
kind of hare. The Kipanawazi is believed by the Mohammedans to 
ferry souls over a river. It will ask them who has beaten it with a 
muiko [mwiko, wooden spoon] . . . and will then say a-ku-pindusha 
[he overturns you].” The above is sufficiently obscure, and I have 
never come across any other reference to this belief. But mwzko also 
means “a taboo,” and possibly the meaning is that the infringement 
of such would upset the ferryman’s boat. 

5. E.g., the order to produce eggs; the building of a house in the 
air, etc. 

6. Jacottet, [c], p. 33. 

7. Hollis, [a], p. 107. 

8. There does not seem to be any rabbit, properly so called, indig- 
enous to Africa, though there are several species of hares, and possibly 
one or more of these may have intermediate characteristics. It is 
curious that, in some stories (i.e., a Giryama one printed by Taylor), 
we hear of the Hare having “a house with several entrances,” which 
can only be a burrow. It is possible that the animal meant in these 
cases is that known in South Africa as the “ Jumping Hare ” (Pedetes 
caffer: Springhaas of the Boers), which is not really a hare at all, 
and “constructs complex burrows in which several families live 
together”? (Lydekker). The “Steppenhase” (Gutmann), Kilyo- 
dang’a of the Wachaga, who attribute to him most of the usual hare 
stories, may be an East African species of Pedetes. 

9. Madan, p. 57. 

10. Campbell, ii. App. viii. p. 365. The seven “ Bootchuana ” 
tales here given are described as “ absurd and ridiculous fictions, pre- 
sented to the notice of the reader only because they exhibit, in a 
striking manner, the puerile and degraded state of intellect among the 
natives of South Africa.” The source of the tales is not indicated, 
and it is clear from the style that they are not exact translations of 


native texts. Those which are versions of well-known tales have 
some interesting variations, suggesting that some features of older 
tales have been preserved. 

11. Junod, [a], pp. 90-109. 

12. So Hlakanyana makes a whistle out of the Hare’s bones; and 
the Hare, in one Suto version (see Jacottet, [c], p. 16 note), from 
those of the “ Rabbit” (hlolo). In Jacottet’s version of the latter, 
the Hare steals a flute belonging to a frog. ‘There seems to be a 
reminiscence of this in the “ quills” which Brer Tarrypin made out 
of “de big een er Brer Buzzard’s wing-fedders ” (Harris, [b], No. 
14, end), and on which he played a triumphant air. Cf. also the 
following story (No. 15), “ Brother Fox Covets the Quills.” 

13. So, with the Baganda (Manuel, p. 279), the Hare induces the 
Elephant to let him cut slices of flesh from his thighs, so that he can 
dance more easily. 

14. It isa common trick of the Hare to raise the alarm of war and 
then rob the gardens; cf. Macdonald, ii. 332 (Yao), and a Makua 
version (MS.) obtained from Archdeacon Woodward. 

15. The Tar-Baby incident occurs in other connections, but this 
is the most frequent. 

16. Cf. Jacottet, [c], p. 26, and the references there given; also 
Harris, [b], No. 20, p. 102, “f Brother Rabbit takes some Exercise.” 
This theme occurs in European folk-lore as ‘‘ Chicken-Licken ” 
(Halliwell-Phillips, p. 29; R. Chambers, Popular Rhymes of 
Scotland, Edinburgh, 1847, p. 211). 

17. See Harris, [a], No. 17, “ Mr. Rabbit Nibbles Up the Butter.” 

18. [bid., No. 12, “ Mr. Fox Tackles Old Man Tarrypin.” 

19. The Baronga —at least the men of full age — wear head- 
rings like those of the Zulus, but brightly polished, whereas the Zulus 
consider a dull lustre the correct thing. The material is either beeswax 
or a kind of gum found on mimosa trees, which is plastered over a 
ring made of plaited grass or bullock’s sinews. Similar naive attempts 
at disguise (invariably successful) are removing the skin (frequent in 
Nyanja stories), cutting off the ears, plastering with mud, etc. Brer 
Rabbit, when he victimises Miss Cow (Uncle Remus, 1X), adopts no 
disguise, but is not recognised when he puts his head out of the brier- 
patch, because “‘ his eyes look big as Miss Sally’s chany sassers.”” So 
in the Angola “ Jackal and Hare” (Chatelain, p. 209), Hare is 
unrecognisable because he “ opens big eyes in the hole.” ‘The disguise 
in “ Brother Rabbit Frightens His Neighbors” (Nights, XXII), 
is probably a recent touch. ‘Dey aint seed no man wat 
look like Brer Rabbit do, wid de coffee-pot on he head, an de cups 
a-rattlin’ on he gallus, en de platters a-wavin’ en a-shinin’ in de a’r. 

NOTES 2 4or 

. I’m ole man Spewter-Splutter, wid long claws en scales on 
my back! ?.” 

20. The famous Tar-Baby episode occurs in this story, and else- 
where in numerous variants, ranging from Mozambique (Makua) to 
Cameroons (Duala), and even beyond the Bantu area. Weeks suggests 
(p. 367) that “the Tar-Baby is the fetish called Nkondi, but in the 
story as we have it, a concession is made to civilization . . . in what 
I believe to be the original story, the Nkondi image causes the victim 
to stick by its own inherent fetish power. . . . It is apparent that 
the narrators have lost faith in the magical powers of their fetish and 
have introduced the wax and the tar to render their stories a little more 
reasonable to themselves.” ‘This explanation seems to be supported by 
the independent testimony of a Duala native, who told Prof. Meinhof 
that figures covered with pitch are set up in forest clearings as a protec- 
tion against demons (Spukdamonen). ‘The figure holds a bowl of por- 
ridge in its hand as a bait: the demons demand some, and, getting no 
answer, strike it and stick fast ([c], p. 119). Among the mischievous 
tricks of these spirits is mentioned that of their setting up again the trees 
which have been felled. A similar incident (grass and weeds coming 
up again after hoeing) occurs in the Xosa story of “ The Bird that 
made Milk” (Torrend, p. 296), where it is the bird that works the 
magic. In the Kongo and Mbundu versions, it is the Leopard who is 
caught by the Tar-Baby, with the Temne, Vai, etc., the Spider (Cro- 
nise and Ward, p. 96, Johnston, [b], p. 1087). Ellis ([b], p. 275), 
gives an Ewe variant, where the adventure is ascribed to the Hare and 
forms part of the tale to be given presently in the text. : 

21. Junod, who had not a complete version before him, fails to 
recognise the importance of this incident and doubts ([a], p. 86) 
whether it really belongs to the same Hare and should not rather be 
attributed to some other species, not distinguished for intelligence. 
As told e.g. by the Giryama, the episode appears in its true light. 

22. The Ewe have the curious variation that the animals decided 
to cut off the tips of their ears and extract the fat from them, which 
was to be “collected and sold, and with the money they would get 
for the fat, they would buy a hoe and dig a well.” Most versions 
agree in representing the Hare as fraudulently profiting by the work 
of the other animals, which he has refused to share; but the Winam- 
wanga (Dewar, p. 11) describe the animals as trying to procure water 
by stamping on the ground. (This is not stated to be a magical 
operation, but a Swahili parallel where they are described as singing, 
makes it probable that it was.) All fail except the Hare, who is 
ungratefully driven away and prevented from drinking by the rest. 
He revenges himself in much the same way as described in the text 


and is eventually caught by the Tortoise. The Winamwanga live to 
the northwest of Lake Nyasa. A similar Nyanja story in Rattray, 
[a], p. 139. 

23. This is told by the Baganda in a different connection, but in the 
Sumbwa version it follows on the Tar-Baby episode. Cf. Brer 
Rabbit’s stratagem to get rid of Brer Buzzard, when the latter was 
watching the hollow tree in which he was hidden (Nights, p. 229). 
““<T got de ’vantage on you, Brer Buzzard . . . kaze I kin see you 
en you can’t see me!’ Wid dat Brer Buzzard stuck he head in de 
hole en look up, en no sooner is he do dis dan Brer Rabbit fill he eyes 
full er san’.” . . . I have been obliged to follow a somewhat eclectic 
method in the text, as it is impossible to give in full, or even to 
summarise, all the various Hare stories. 

24. This story is related in Bittner [a], p. 95, of the Hare and 
the Mongoose and explains why the former has long and the latter 
has short ears: the adventure ended in a fight, in which the Hare tore 
off his opponent’s ears and appropriated them. 

25. For this incident in another connection, see supra, p. 215. 
It is so widely distributed that one is inclined to think it one of the 
primitive elements in the Hare legend; perhaps it has some ultimate 
mythological significance, though hardly, I think, that attributed to 
it by Prof. Meinhof. In a MS. Giryama version, which I owe to 
the kindness of Mr. Hollis, the mothers are not to be killed but sold 
to the Coast-men for bags of grain—cf. Monteil, p. 135, “ Le 
Liévre, la Hyéne et l’Autruche.” ‘The Hottentots tell this story of 
the Jackal. 

26. The story was related to me with this finale by an old Swahili 
named Mwenye Ombwe, at Maunguja, near Mombasa. ‘The episode 
which follows is given mainly from a version taken down in Pokomo, 
at Ngao in 1912. (See FL xxiv. [1913], 475.) It occurs, in a 
different connection, in Taylor, [b], p. 126, as the conclusion of 
a tale, the earlier part of which is identical with “The Hare and the 
Lion,” in Steere. 

27. Bleek [b], pp. 8-10. 

28. Taylor [b], p. 130. I have a MS. version dictated in Gir- 
yama by Aaron Mwabaya at Kaloleni; but it wants the opening 
incident given by ‘Taylor, which supplies the motive for the 
sequel. Other variants: Chinamwanga, Dewar, p. 129; Ronga (or 
rather Makua), Junod, [a], pp. 131, 135; and in America, ‘“‘ Compair 
Lapin et Michié Dinde,” in Fortier, p. 24, as well as a version pub- 
lished in an American magazine by the late J. Chandler Harris. In 
Nyasaland, the tale is told of the Cock and the Swallow, or of a bird 
called ntengu and the wild cat; and elsewhere we find further 

NOTES 423 

29. Part of this story occurs as “‘ The Hare and the Elephant,” in 
Hollis, [a], p. 107, with some additional touches. ‘The Hare, after 
finishing the honey, asks the Elephant to hand him up some stones for 
throwing at the birds. He then puts them into the honey-bag that the 
loss of weight may not be noticed, and asks to be set down. On find- 
ing out his loss, the elephant pursues him, and he takes refuge in a 
hole; the elephant, inserting his trunk catches him by the leg, and 
the Hare calls out that he has got hold of a root. ‘The Elephant lets 
go and lays hold of what is in fact a root; the Hare groans and cries, 
“You are pulling me to pieces! ” and finally makes his escape. He 
takes refuge with the Baboons, who, on being questioned by the 
Elephant, agree to betray him in return for a cup of the Elephant’s 
blood. He allows them to shoot an arrow into his neck (as the Masai 
do to their cattle) and bleed him into a small cup which — unknown 
to him — has a hole in it: the cup is never filled, and the Elephant 
bleeds to death. 

30. Schultze, p. 451. 

31. Lbid., p. 496. 

32. Bleek, [a], p. 67; Metelerkamp, p. 78. The story of the 
Animals and the Well is told of the jackal by the Hottentots: see, 
inter alia, “The Story of a Dam,” in SAFJ i. [1879], 69, and 
“The Animals’ Dam,” in Metelerkamp, p. 88. ‘There is a note- 
worthy detail which affords a point of contact with the Tar-Baby 
story: the Tortoise covers his shell with some sticky substance, in order 
to catch the Jackal. 

33. A Khassonke (French Sudan) version, however, attributes 
it to the Hare (Monteil, p. 29, “Le Liévre et hyéne 4 la péche 
des mares de Doro”). He induces the Hyena to let him mount by 
telling him that no one is allowed to come to the fishing except on 
horseback, and that all the horses will be fed on dried fish. The 
greedy Hyena falls into the trap at once, but gets no fish and is 
driven away by the information that, as the catch has been so good, 
it has been decided to sacrifice a horse to the water-spirit. The Hyena 
is still running, adds the narrator. 

34. Schultze, p. 461. 

35. Gordon, p. 61. 


. Cf. inter alia, Jacottet, [c], p. 32, “ The Jackal.” 
. Harris, [a], p. 89, No. 18, and p. 130, No. 26. 

. Junod, [a], pp. 87, 109, 127, 149. 
. Cronise and Ward, p. 70. 

PWN & 


5. Hobley, p. 114. 

6. Some variants: Bakwiri (Schuler in MSOS xi. [1908], 201); 
Duala (Lederbogen, Jdid., iii. [1901], 204); Subiya (Jacottet, [b], 
ii. 40); Ila (Smith, p. 116). 

7. Bleek, [b], p. 32; see also “The Ostrich Hunt” in Mete- 

8. [bid., p. 27; see also Introduction, p. xxvii. Bleek thinks this 
story is “‘ probably of Hottentot origin.” Whether he had any evi- 
dence for this beyond its “‘ striking resemblance ” to the undoubtedly 
Hottentot tale of “The Giraffe and the Tortoise,” and his own 
assumption that Bantu tribes have no animal stories, does not appear. 
(In the latter the Tortoise chokes the Giraffe which has swallowed it.) 
It seems to me that its mention of the Rain as a person suggests deri- 
vation from the Bushmen, to whom Hottentot folklore doubtless 
owes a great deal, while the Herero and some other Bantu tribes 
have also been directly in contact with them. 

9. Supra, note 22 to p. 297. 

10. In “ The Girl who Ate Pork ” (Kibaraka, p. 91), a story of 
non-African provenance, though no doubt embodying some African 
touches, the serpent to whom the woman has promised her first-born 
child, on finding that she is prepared to keep her word restores the 
infant to her, after twice “ putting it into his mouth and taking it 
out at his nose”? —a performance of which I find no other cases re- 

11. Monteil, p. 45. 

12. Elhs..}c1. p.256- 

13. E.g. Cronise and Ward, p. 231, “‘ Mr. Spider pulls a supply 
of beef.” 

14. This feat is given by the Mandingo (Monteil, p. 49) and by 
the Bemba (JAS ii. [1902-03], 63) to the Hare; by the Temne 
(Cronise and Ward, p. 117) to the Spider. But I think that it prop- 
erly belongs to the Tortoise. 

15. Nassau, [a], p. 37. Variants: Duala (ZSOS iii. [1901], 170); 
Yabakalaki-Bakoko of the Cameroons (Seidel, [a], iii. 275). This 
version also adds that the two beasts subsequently discovered the trick, 
and the Tortoise has been hiding from them ever since. 

16. Jacottet, [b] ii. 38 note. The various versions of this story 
are as follows: Basuto (Jacottet, [a], p. 42, and see notes in Junod, 
[a], p. 100); Bena Kanioka Kassai region (Anthropos, iv. [1909] 
449); Subiya (Hare, Jacottet, [b] ii. 38); Benga (Nassau [b], p. 129, 
No. 14. No. 16, p. 140, is to some extent a variant of this); Xosa 
(Theal, [a], p. 115. In this case the Monkey is sent, and forgets 
the name on the way back. No other messengers are mentioned, nor is 

NOTES 425 

it said that Hlakanyana succeeds in learning the name; but he pro- 
ceeds to plunder the tree and inculpate the Monkey). Other variants 
mentioned by Jacottet and Junod have nothing to do with the name 
part of the story. These are: Ronga (Junod, [a], pp. 98ff., the 
story of the Hare already alluded to in Chap. XI); North Transvaal 
(Revue des traditions populaires, x. [1895], 383); Lower Ogowe 
(Mizon in [did., iv. [1889], 648 —a variant of Nassau’s No. 16, 
“Tortoise, Dog, Leopard, and the Bojabi Fruit”). Jacottet also refers 
to an Ewe story recorded by G. Hartler (in Seidel, [a], vi. [1901], 
127); but this is a version of “ Chicken-Licken,” ss Henny-Penny,” 
etc., so close to our own and told in a way so unlike the genuine 
African story that I cannot help suspecting it to be a recent impor- 
tation from Europe. 

17. This does not apply to the Benga story given in the text, which 
seems to me in several respects less primitive than Jacottet’s Suto 

18. Junod, [a], pp. 98 et seg. 

19. Jacottet, [a], p. 43: “ Motlatladiane motlatla ne signifie rien, 
ce sont de simples assonances.” ‘The Subiya call it bundelemoo, the 
Bena Kanioka muchiabanza — words of which no one seems to know 
the meaning. Whether dojabi is the recognised name of a tree in 
Benga at the present day, Nassau does not explain. 

20. Nassau, [b], p. 129. In the Suto version the Lion, as chief 
of the animals, sends off a succession of messengers (not particular- 
ised by name) to Koko (the first ancestress of the tribe?) to ask the 
name of the tree. They chant it on the way back, but all stumble 
against an ant-heap and forget it. At last the Lion goes himself, 
but fails likewise. The Tortoise then goes and stumbles like the rest, 
but contrives to keep his wits and remember the name. ‘The Lion, 
angry that so insignificant a creature should be more successful than 
himself orders him to be buried. All the animals then went to eat 
the fruit of the tree, carefully leaving that on the topmost branch 
untouched. (No order to this effect has previously been mentioned 
but it is clearly implied in what follows — cf. Junod, [a], p. 102 “la 
branche du chef.”) During the night, the Tortoise comes out of his 
hole, eats the fruit on the top branch and buries himself again.  “ Le 
lendemain le propriétaire de l’arbre leur demanda: ‘ Pourquoi avez- 
vous si mal agi, de manger les fruits que je vous avez dit de ne pas 
toucher? ? Les animaux lui répondirent: ‘Ce n’est pas nous qui 
y avons touché, nous ne savons qui a pu les manger.’ On déterra 
la tortue, et on lui demanda ce qui en était: elle répondit: ‘Comment 
avais-je pu les manger, puisque vous m’aviez si bien enterrée? ’” 

The Subiya version, which, as already said, makes the Hare the 


hero, names an Antelope (usa) and the Chameleon as messengers, 
and adds that, on the arrival of the second, Leza told him that, if 
he forgot the name this time, the next who came to ask for it should 
die. ‘The Hare, however, found grace in his sight and was spared. 
In the Bena Kanioka version, the only messenger sent prior to the 
Tortoise is the ngulungu, Antelope. Maweza, when telling the Tor- 
toise the name gives him a little bell which, he says, will recall it to him 
if he forgets it. “The animals show themselves ungrateful and refuse 
the Tortoise a share of the fruit; after they have eaten of it themselves, 
they kill him (probably, though this is not said, battering his shell 
to pieces). But the little ants knead clay, make him a new body 
(stick his shell together?) and restore him to life. The animals kill 
him once more, and again the ants restore him. ‘This time he uproots 
the tree, and all the beasts perish. So far as I know, this conclusion 
stands alone. ‘The story has points of contact with the numerous 
ones which try to account for the laminae of the Tortoise’s shell. 

21. Seidel, [a], iv. [1898], 137. 

22. These people, whose proper name is Luo (Jaluo), live near 
the northeastern corner of the Victoria Nyanza. I regret to say that 
I did not succeed in taking down a complete version of this tale, and 
have had to trust largely to memory; but it strangely resembles 
“ T”homme au grand coutelas”’ (Junod, [a], p. 144), except that the 
Tortoise is substituted for the Frog. 

23. Nassau, [b], pp. 33, 34. 
24. Callaway, [a], p. 339. 


1. Anansi is the Twi name of the Spider. Rattray, [b], ii. 294, 
says: “‘ The Ashanti name for a story, even when the Spider does not 
appear in the narrative at all, is anansesem, literally ‘ words about a 
spider.” Hence the well-known expression ‘‘ Annancy” (or 
“‘ Nancy ”) stories in the West Indies. Cf. Tremearne, pp. 31-33. 
Chatelain, pp. 133, 135. 

Dennett, [a], p. 74, [b], p. 31. 

Lederbogen, MSOS (A frikanische Studien), iv. [1901], 180. 
Schén, p. 200. 

Ellis, [a], p. 339, [ce], p- 259. 

Rattray, [b], i. 108. 

Tbid., i. 128. 

. Cronise and Ward, p. 109. 

10. I[bid., p. 279. 

II. Rattray, [b], ii. 90, 92, 124, 306, 307; Jekyll, pp. 4, 9. 

Fees ot tes 

NOTES 427 

On the Gold Coast he is said to talk through his nose. It may be 
remembered that the Bushmen have a special dialect (with peculiar 
clicks) for each of the animals figuring in their tales. Cf. also M. 
Kingsley, p. 140, and Zimmermann, ii. 17. 

4a. Ellis, £61, p. 2ce. 

13. Rattray, [b], ii. 106; Delafosse, p. 170. The latter has an 
additional incident at the beginning; the Spider marries “ Heaven’s 
daughter,” who had been promised to whatever suitor should succeed 
in breaking up a plot of ground without scratching himself while the 
work was going on. The Elephant and all the other animals fail 
to pass the test; the Spider succeeds by a trick. ‘‘ Dodo” is called 
“La Mort” by the French writer, and the story ends with his swal- 
lowing all the beef and leaving the Spider none. Concerning Dodo, 
whose characteristics are somewhat variable, but who certainly belongs 
to the tribes of Ogres, Mazimwi, etc., see Tremearne, pp. 124-6 and 
tales Nos. 14, 32, 73, etc. Of these, No. 32, “ How Dodo fright- 
ened the Greedy Man,” is virtually identical (except that a man takes 
the place of the Spider) with the one in the text, though shorter. 
Rattray’s version is literally translated from a complete Hausa text 
and contains some crudities, necessarily softened down in our abstract. 

14. Rattray, [b], ii. p. 114. The bag looks like a more civilized 
substitute for the actual swallowing of the older and cruder story. 
The same may be the case in such stories as that of “‘ Tselane,” “ The 
Child in the Drum,” etc., where, too, it may be meant to make the 
rescue more plausible. 

15. Cf. the curious incident of the Elephant and the Tortoise re- 
ferred to on p. 313. 

16. In Tremearne, the conclusion is different: the son, left by 
Dodo to watch the bag, lets his father out, and they make their escape. 

17. Supra, note 14 to p. 314. 

18. Rattray, [b], ii. 124. 

19. Ibid., ii. 81, where this incident forms the conclusion of “ The 
Spider and the Lion.” Cf. also Thomas, p. 63. 

20. Spieth, p. 573. 

21. Similar tricks occur in “ The Spider and the Crows ” (Rattray, 
[b], ii. No. 28), where he (a), lights a fire to make them think day 
is breaking, (4) beats the fowls to make them raise an outcry, (c) 
gives the Moslem call to prayer. 

22. Barker, p. 84. 

23. Spieth, p. 34*. (Starred references to this work denote pages 
in the Introduction. ) 

24. Spieth, p. 584. 

25. A Hausa tale given by Tremearne (p. 397) mentions a town 
where no one is allowed to sleep. No explanation is given. 


26. Literally “ drink-names.” Ewe chiefs and warriors, at drink- 
ing-bouts, take “‘ great names, greater than themselves,” which they 
shout on these festive occasions, and also in battle, in order to keep 
up their courage and terrify their enemies. See Spieth, p. 622. 

27. Spieth, p. 590. 

28. Smith, p. 69; Jekyll, p. 31. 

29. Jekyll, p. 33. This version differs from Miss Smith’s in mak- 
ing the barrel full of quicklime, instead of flour. 


Bleek, [b], p. 2 

Jacottet, [c], p. 266. 
‘Tremearne, pp. 153-156. 
. [bid., p. 154. 

. Gutmann, [b], p. 75; Tremearne, p. 397. 

 Junod, [a], p. 247. 

. E.g. Craster, pp. 302, 311, 317. On this, see M. Kingsley, 
pp. 163, 168, 241, ‘etc. 

8. See M. Kingsley, p. 162. 

9. Scott, p. 345. 

TO.) Renise. fp. 1238; 

11. Scott, p. 312 (manchichi), 451 (nkandwe), 345, 648; Miss 
D. M. Abdy in JAS xvi. [1917], 237. The Leopard’s employment 
in this capacity may be distinct from the quasi-sacred character which 
attaches to him all over Africa (a subject not yet fully worked out), 
marked, e.g., by the skin being reserved for chiefs, in some cases for 
the Supreme Chief only. Among the Zulus of Natal, the proper 
name of the leopard, ingwe, is tabu: the reason given being his con- 
nection with wizards. But it is curious that another of these “‘ famil- 
iars,” the hyena, should, in East Africa (where, however, as far as 
I know, he is not associated with witchcraft), be regarded as more or 
less sacred. Cf. inter alia, Krapf, [b], p. 68, s. v. fist, and Hollis, 
ibis Ope. 7y 41. 

12. Miss Abdy, JAS, xvi. [1917], 237. 

13. For details, see Scott, pp. 345, 648; Miss Abdy, of. cit., p. 
235; and cf. Craster, pp. 254, 299. Nassau, [a], p. 123, says that 
when the “witchcraft company hold their meetings, an imitation 
of the hoot of the owl, which is their sacred bird, is the signal call.” 

14. Craster, p. 300. 

15. Nassau, [a], p. 123, [c], pp. 150-168. 

16. Colenso, p. 282. 

17. Bryant, p. 322. 


NOTES 429 

18. Natal Colonist, Dec. 27, 1873. I remember being told by a 
native in Nyasaland that, if addressed by a m/fiti at night, one must 
on no account answer him; however, testimony was by no means uni- 
form on this point, some saying that the right course was to defy him 
and threaten him with the mwavi ordeal. Baboons are said in Natal 
to be witches’ familiars, and a solitary “‘ rogue,” turned out of the 
troop when old and vicious, might have given rise to some of the 
stories about imikovu, but they are not nocturnal in their habits. 

19. Jacottet, [c], p. 266, and Casalis, [b], p. 289. 

20. This seems to be a common condition of witch-revels. It is 
sometimes mentioned as a means of recognising witches when sur- 
prised by night. See Abdy, Joc. cit., p. 234; Krapf, [b], p. 260. 

21. Dayrell, p. 32. 

22. Such touches are not common in African folk-tales, not so 
much so as in Grimm. But a study of these Ikom stories reveals a 
crudity and ferocity which are not typically African. One may per- 
haps conjecture that Calabar, being one of the principal foci of the 
slave-trade, attracted to itself, in the course of three centuries, the 
worst elements in two continents. 

23. Johnston, [a], p. 439. 

24. Scott, p. 562 (Anyanja); JAS v. [1906], 267. 

25. Schultze, p. 450 (Nama). See also Nassau, [a], pp. 201-3; 
Du Chaillu, pp. 52-3. 

Wow 4. Be. Werner, pp. 277, 320. 

27. See refs. in J. G. Frazer, The Golden Bough,*® x. 308-14, 
especially p. 313. It seems scarcely possible to maintain in Africa the 
distinction drawn by this eminent authority between werewolves and 

28. Pearce, i. 287-8, note. 

29. Ibid., ii. 340-1. 

30. MS. notes. 

31. In the variants, the child who effects the rescue usually suffers 
from some skin disease or other disability, which is given as a reason 
for not desiring his or her presence. 

32. Nassau, [b], p. 68, “ Leopard of the Fine Skin.” 


1. For these and similar stories, see FZ xxv. [1915], 457f. 

2. The four Pokomo tribes of the Lower Tana are Negatana, 
Dzunza, Buu, and Kalindi: the second being comparatively unimpor- 
tant. See FL xxiv. [1913], 456-7. The Tana has repeatedly 
changed its course during its annual inundations; the last important 


occasion of its doing so seems to have been about sixty years ago, 
when (as related in the sequel to the legend), the Buu tribe had to 
shift to their present abode in the neighbourhood of Ngao. 

3. Gutmann, [b], p. 151, “ Der Glockenbote.” 

4. Ibid., p. 109, see supra, p. 188. As to the bringing up to date 
and imparting local colour to either imported or native stories see 
Junod, [a], pp. 274-6, 284 (note 1), 291 (note). 

5. See Monteil, pp. 166-202. ‘The legends there given do not 
include those of Moses and the beggar whom God refused to help 
( Kibaraka, p. 38), and of David and the old woman who laid a com- 
plaint against the wind for carrying off her flour (id., p. 130). I 
have been unable to get any information about the originals of these. 

6. Steere, p. 3. See FLJ iii. [1885], 128, 130. 

7. Notes and Queries, Ser. xi. iv. [1911], 82. 


9. M. Pickthall, Oriental Encounters, London, 1918, p. 275. Mr- 
Pickthall informs me, in a private letter, that most of the Abu Nuwwas 
stories referred to in the text “in Syria and Egypt are ascribed to 
Johha (or Hajj Johha). Abu Nuwwéas was always the court jester in 
the stories that I used to read and hear. The greatest yarn of all — 
nearly interminable — is of how he extracted money out of Haroun- 
er-rashid by the news of his own death and escaped the proper punish- 
ment of such a fraud. How far these stories correspond to the actual 
history of Abu Nuwwas . . . I do not know; but all the stories I 
have heard concerning him had something of the colour of history.” 
Some of the genuine Abu Nuwwés stories are certainly current in 

10. Junod, [a], p. 292. Some Abu Nuwwis stories in Beech, [b], 
pp. 58-85. 

11. See A. Campbell, Santal Folk-Tales, p. 25, quoted by Hindes- 
Groome, p. 263. 

12. See Mouliéras, ii. 4, 12, 13. The Berber stories published by 
Mouliéras seem to be derived from a very old Arabic collection. It 
is interesting to observe that those stories have spread into Sicily and 
Italy, where the name Joha has become Giufa or Giucca. But the 
latter seems more of a simpleton than Joha, who is a mixture of cun- 
ning and imbecility, the latter no doubt assumed in many cases. “ Les 
anecdotes ow il figure sont en effet de deux sortes: dans les unes, il 
cache sous une sottise apparente un esprit caustique et narquois; dans 
les autres, il nous apparait comme le niais le plus ridicule ” (Basset, in 
Mouliéras, ii. 6). 

13. Mouliéras, ii. 89. 

14. Ibid., ii. 18. It is a favourite incident in Italy. 

NOTES 431 

15. Ibid., ii. 143. 

16. Groome, p. 9. 

17. lbid., p. 12. 

18. Bolte and Polivka, i. 188-202. 

19. Junod, [a], pp. 274-322. ‘The stories are: “ Les aventures 
de Djiwao,” p. 276; “ Bonaouaci,” p. 291; “ Les trois vaisseaux,” p. 
304; “Le jeune garcon et le grand serpent,” p- 314, and “ La fille 
du roi.” ? 

19a. An enchanted horse figures in a Mpongwe tale (see p. 347 
supra), showing that, in this form, it must be of fairly recent origin. 

20. Bolte and Polivka, iii. 80; cf. also “The Three Girls,” in 
Groome, p. 141. 

21. Chatelain, pp. 43, 53. 

22. Evidently an Indian, as appears later on. 

23. A. Werner, pp. 247-9. 

24. There may, however, have been some misapprehension on the 
translator’s part: mundu (= homo, not vir) may equally well mean a 
man or a woman, and if the intention of marriage was not explicitly 
stated, the mistake might easily arise. 

25. Dennett, [a], pp. x-xii. 

26. Thomann, p. 136. Here the conclusion is sufficiently repug- 
nant to the moral sense: ‘‘ Mais le pére dit 4 son tour: ‘ Tous trois vous 
avez le méme mérite et il n’est impossible de donner trois maris i ma 
fille. Je ne peux donc que vous autoriser 4 étre ses amants.”” It is only 
fair to say that this conclusion would not be generally accepted by 
Africans. In the only other case where a decision is stated the girl is 
compelled to remain single (I have unfortunately lost the hererence)). 

27. Dennett, [a], p. 32. 




ABAW ... Abhandlungen K6niglich-Preussische Akademie der 
Wissenschaften zu Berlin. 

ARW .... Archiv fiir Religionswissenschaft. 

EBr* . .. . Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed. 

ERE .... Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. 

OLZ .... Orientalische Litteraturzeitung. 

Semi, © 6s Sacred Books of the East. 

SWAW .... Sitzungsberichte der Wiener Akademie der Wissen- 

TICO ..... Transactions of the International Congress of Orien- 
talists, London, 1893. 

VKR .... Verhandlungen des zweiten internat. Kongresses fiir 
allgemein. Religionsgeschichte, Basel, 1905 


DarEMBERG, V., and, E., Dictionnaire des antiquités grecques 
et romaines, Paris, 1887ff. 

Encyc.opepiA Brirannica, Cambridge, 11th ed., 1910-11. 

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RELIGION AND Eruics, ed. J. Hastings, Edin- 
burgh, 1908ff. 

Erscu, J. S. and J. G. Gruser, Allgemeine Encyklopidie der Wis- 
senschaften und Kiinste, Leipzig, 1818-50. 

GranvE Encyciopépm, La, Paris, 1885-1901. 

Pauty, A. F. von, Realencyclopidie der classischen A ltertumswissen- 
schaft, New ed. by G. Wissowa, Stuttgart, 1904ff. 

RoscHer, W. H., Ausfiihrliches Lexicon der griechische und 
romische Mythologie, Leipzig, 1884-1902. 


For the Indo-European period down to Christian times the most 
important native sources are: 
AGATHANGELOs, 5th cent., ed. Venice, 1865. 


ANANIA OF SHIRAG, 7th cent., ed. Patkanean, Petrograd, 1877. 

Eznik, 5th cent., ed. Venice, 1826. 

EMsHE (ExLis®us), 5th cent., ed. Venice. 

Faustus oF Byzantium, 5th cent., ed. Venice, 1869, also in V. 
Langlois, Collection des historiens anciens et modernes de DP Ar- 
ménie, Paris, 1857-9. 

Mosks oF CHorREN, 5th cent., History and Geography of Armenia, 
ed. Venice, 1865. 

Ouan Manracunl, Sth cent., ed. Venice. 

The ancient Armenian version of the Old Testament is useful 
for names. We also gather short but valuable notices from Xeno- 
phon’s Anabasis, Strabo’s Geography, and the works of Dio Cassius, 
Pliny, and Tacitus. Alishan has gathered in his Ancient Faith of 
Armenia (in Armen.), Venice, 1895, a good deal of very valuable 
material from edited and unedited works of the medizval writers, 
The Armenian language itself is one of the richest sources of infor- 
mation, along with the church ritual and scientifically collected 
folk-lore. Among the latter we may name Abeghian, Armenischer 
Volksglaube, Pshrank, Crumbs from the Granaries of Shirak, and 
parts of Srvantzdian’s Manana (see under IV. Literature). 


Besides many articles in ARW, EBr**, ERE, Daremberg et Saglio, 
Pauly-Wissowa, Réscher, and La Grande Encyclopédie, the follow- 

ing works may be noted. 

ABEGHIAN, M., Armenischer Volksglaube, Leipzig, 1899. 

Auaronian, A., Les croyances des anciens Arméniens, Geneva, 1912. 

AtsHAN, L. Ancient Faith of the Armenians (Armen.), Venice, 

ee H., La religion ancienne des Arméniens in VKR, 
p. 201T-; 

AsLan, K., Etudes historiques sur le peuple arménien, Paris, 1909. 

BaassaNIAN, S., History of Armenia® (Armen.), Tiflis, 1896. 

Basmajian, G., Critical Study of our Aralez and the Babylonian 
Marduk, Venice, 1898. 

True History of Armenia, Constantinople, 1914. 

CarrikrE, A., Les Auit sanctuaires de PArménie payenne, Paris, 

CassEL, P., Drachenkimpfe, Berlin, 1868. 

Cuaratianz, G., Marchen und Sagen, Leipzig, 1887. 

CHANTEPIE DE LA SaussayE, P. D., Lehrbuch der Religions- 
geschichte*, Tiibingen, 1905. 


Cumont, F., Die Mysterien des Mithra, Leipzig, 1903. 

Texts et monuments figurés relatifs aux mystéres de Mithra, 

Brussels, 1896-9. 

DacuHavarIiANn, N., Ancient Religions of the Armenians (Armen.), 
in Banassér, 1903. | 

Davis, GLapys M.N., The Asiatic Dionysos, London, 1914. 

DER-MESROBIAN, S., Critical History of Armenia, Venice, 1914. 

Dotens, N., and Kuatcu, A., Histoire des anciens Arméniens, 
Geneva, 1907. | 

Emin, M., Recherche sur le paganisme arménien, in Revue de 
POrient, N.S. v. 18. 

Moses of Khoren and the Old Epics of the Armenians, Tiflis, 


Erman, A., Handbook of Egyptian Religion, tr. A. S. Griffith, 
London, 1907. 

FarnELL, L. R., The Cults of the Greek States, Oxford, 1896-1909. 

Frazer, J. G., The Golden Bough,® London, 1907-15. 

GeiceEr, W., and Kuun, E., Grundriss der iranische Philologie, Strass- 
burg, 1895-1904. 

Geuzer, H., Zur armenische Gétterlehre, in Berichte der Koniglich- 
Sachsischen Gesellschaft der Wissenchaften, phil. hist. Classe., 
1895, pp. 99-148. 

GutscHmip, A. von, Kleine Schriften, Leipzig, 1889-94. 

HomMELL, F., Grundriss der Geographie und Geschichte des alten 
Orients, Munich, 1904. 

HuscuMann, H., Armenische Grammatik, Leipzig, 1897. 

Hushartzan (A collection of essays by various scholars), Vienna, 1911. 

Inyry1an, L., Armenian Archaeology, Venice, 1835. 

Jackson, A. V. W., Iranische Religion, in Geiger-Kuhn, Grundriss 
d. iran. Philologie, Vol. ii. 

Jastrow, M., Die Religion Babyloniens und Assyriens, Giessen, 

Jensen, P., Hittiter und Armenier, Strassburg, 1898. 

KarakasHiAn, A., Critical History of Armenia (Armen.) Tiflis, 

LacarpE, P., Armenische Studien, Gottingen, 1887. 

Purim, Gottingen, 1887. 

Lanctors, V., Collections des historiens anciens et modernes de PAr- 
ménie, Paris, 1867-69. 

MacpongLu, A. A., Vedic Mythology, Stuttgart, 1897. 

MaeEunty, J., Die Schlange in Mythus und Kultus, Basel, 1867. 

Meyer, E., Geschichte des Alterthums,’ Berlin, 1909. 

Moorg, G. F., History of Religions, vol. i, Edinburgh, 1914. 


Mou ton, J. H., Early Zoroastrianism, London, 1913. 

NazARETIAN, Armenians and Armenian Mythology (Armen.), in 
BAazMAWEP, 1893-4. 

OLpENBERG, H., Die Religion des Veda, Berlin, 1894. 

Paton, L. B., Spiritism and the Cult of the Dead in Antiquity, 
New York, 1921. 

PaTRUBANI, Beitrige zur Armenischen Etymologie, Budapest, 

PsHrank, Crumbs from the Granaries of Shirak, a collection of 
eastern Armenian folk-lore. 

SAHAG-MeEsros, Urartu, Constantinople, 1909. 

SANDALGIAN, J., Histoire documentaire de PArmenie, Paris, 1917. 

SARKISSIAN, B., Agathangelos and his Many-centuried Mystery 
(Armen.), Venice, 1892. 

SCHRADER, O., Arische Religion, Leipzig, 1914. 

SEROPIAN, Bsup. M., Armenia and Hayastan, n. d. 

SIECKE, E., Drachenkimpfe, Leipzig, 1907. 


STOCKELBERG, “Iranian Influence on the Religious Beliefs of the 
Ancient Armenians,” in Report of the Imperial Archaeolog- 
ical Society of Moscow, Oriental Comm. (Russian), ii. pt. 2, 
Moscow, 1901. 

TcHERAz, M., Notes sur la mythologie arménienne, in TICO, i1., 
London, 1893. 

TispaLL, W. Sr. Cram, The Conversion of Armenia to the Chris- 
tian Faith, Oxford, 1897. 

Uncuap, A., Das Gilgamesch-Epos, Gottingen, 1911. 

WeseER, S., Die Katholische Kirche in Armenien, Freiberg, 1903. 

WinpIscHMANN, F., Die persische Andahita oder Anaitis, in A bhand- 
lungen der Konig. Bayr. Akadamie der Wissenchaften, i. 
Classe, viii. pt. 1, Munich, 1856. 


A large number of works on Folk-lore have been used, among 
which the following may be named. 

Aszott, G. F., Macedonian Folk-Lore, Cambridge, 1907. 

Conway, M. D., Demonology and Devil Lore, New York, 1879. 

CrookE, W., The Popular Religion and Folklore of Northern India, 
London, 1897. 

Hartianp, E. Sypney, The Legend of Perseus, London, 1896. 

Kirk, Rev. R., The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns, and 
Fairies, ed. A Lang, London, 1893. 


Lang, E. W., An Account of the Manners and Customs of the Moa- 

ern Egyptians. 

Arabian Society in the Middle Ages, ed. S. Lane Poole, London, 


Ratston, W. R. S., Russian Folk-tales, London, 1873. 

Ruys, Sir Joun, Celtic Folk-lore, Oxford, 1891. 

Wentz, W. Y. E., The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries, Oxford, 

Wounot, W. M., Elemente der Vélkerpsychologie,? Leipzig, 1913. 

Also the following articles: 

“ Dragon,” in Daremberg-Saglio. 

“ Phrygians,” in ERE ix. 

“Serpent,” in New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowl- 
edge. : 

‘Serpent Worship,” in EBr*?. 


ANANIKIAN, M., “ Armenia (Zoroastrian),” i. 794-802. 
Carnoy, A. J., “ Magic (Iranian),” viii. 293-6. 
CasarTELLt, L. C., “ Charms and Amulets (Iranian),” iii. 448. 
“ Dualism (Iranian),” v. 111-2. 

Craw ey, A. E., “ Fire and Fire-Gods,” vi. 26-30. 
Cumont, F., “ Anahita,” i. 414-5. 

—* Art (Mithraic),” i. 872-4. 

“Architecture (Mithraic),” i. 744-5. 

Epwarps, E., “ Altar (Persian),” i. 346-8. 

“God (Iranian),” vi. 290-4. 

“ Priest, Priesthood (Iranian),” x. 319-22. 

Gray, L. H., “ Achaemenians,” i. 69-73. 

*“* Barsom,” ii. 424-5. 

—‘ Blest, Abode of the (Persian),” ii. 702-4. 

—*“ Cosmogony and Cosmology (Iranian),” iv. 161-2. 
—*“ Fate (Iranian),” v. 792-3. 

—“ Festivals and Fasts (Iranian),” v. 872-5. 

—*‘ Fortune (Iranian),” vi. 96. 

——“ Heroes and Hero-Gods (Iranian),” vi. 661-2. 
——“ Life and Death (Iranian),” viii. 

—* Light and Darkness (Iranian),” viii. 61-2. 


Jackson, A. V. W., “ Ahriman,” i. 237-8. 

——‘“ Amesha Spentas,” i. 384-5. 

——“ Architecture (Persian),” i. 760-4. 

——“* Art (Persian),” i. 881-4. 

—*“ Ashmounds,” ii. 114-5. 

——“ Avesta,” ii. 266-72. 

“Demons and Spirits (Persian),” iv. 619-20. 

Jones, H. S., “ Mithraism,” viii. 752-9. 

LeuHmany, E., “ Ancestor Worship and Cult of the Dead (Iranian),” 
i. 454-5. 

MacCuttocu, J. A., “ Branches and Twigs,” ii. 831-3. 

“Changeling,” iii. 358-63. 

——“ Fairy,” v. 678-89. 

“Serpent,” xi. 399-411. 

Mac ter, F., “ Armenia (Christian),” i. 802-7. 

—* Calendar (Armenian),” iii. 70-3. 

Mitts L. H., “‘ Ahuna-Vairya,” i. 238-9. 

“‘ Barsom,” ii. 424-5. 

* Behistiin,” ii. 450-4. 

Mont, J. J., “ Birth (Parsi),” ii. 660—2. 

Mou tton, J. H., “ Iranians,” vii. 418-20. 

Paton, L. B., “ Ashtart,” ii. 115-8. 

“Ishtar,” vil. 428-34. 

Ramsay, W. M., “ Phrygians,” ix. goo-11. 

saycE, A. H., “ Armenia (Vannic),” i. 793-4. 

“Median Religion,” viii. 514-5. 

SODERBLOM, N., “‘ Ages of the World (Zoroastrian),” i. 205-10. 



ty ape He a Folk-Lore. 
Fe eames ree Folk-Lore Journal. 
MS i ag page Journal of the African Society. 

JRAI ... . Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 
MSOS ... . Mitteilungen des Seminars fiir orientalische Sprachen. 

SAFJ ... . South African Folk-Lore Society’s Journal. 
BAG sb. Zeitschrift fiir Afrikanische Sprachen. 

RE OR gs Zeitschrift fiir Ethnologie. 

GIRO Sear y Zeitschrift fiir Kolonialsprachen. 


BarKER, W. H., and Sinciarr, C., West African Folk-Tales, 
London, 19I0. 

Barnes, Rev. H. B., 4 Nyanja-English Vocabulary, London, 1902. 

Baumann, S. O., [a], Durch Massailand zur Nilquelle, Reisen und 

Forschungen der Massai-Expedition, 1891-93, Berlin, 1894. 

[b], Usambara und seine Nachbargebiete, Berlin, 1891. 

BEECH, Mervyn W. H., [a], The Suk, Their Language and Folk- 

Lore, Oxford, 1911. 

[b], Aids to the Study of Kiswahili, London, [1917? ]. 

Bentiey, W. Hoiman, Dictionary and Grammar of the Congo Lan- 
guage as Spoken at Sad Salvador, London, 1887. 

Bieex, W. H. I., [a], The Languages of Mozambique, London, 

NY Reynard the Fox in South A frica, London, 1864. 

[c], 4 Brief Account of Bushman Folk-Lore and other Texts. 
. . . Second Report concerning Bushman Researches presented to 
both Houses of Parliament of the Cape of Good Hope, Cape 
Town, 1875. 

See also LLoyp, Miss C. L. 

Botte, J., and PorivKa, G., Anmerkungen zu den Kinder — und 
Hausmirchen der Briider Grimm, 3 vols., Leipzig, 1913-18. 


Breysic, K., Die Enstehung des Gottesgedankens und der Heilbrin- 
ger, Berlin, 1905. 

BrinckeEr, H., Wérterbuch und Kurzgefasste Grammatik des Otji- 
herero. Herausgegeben von C. G. Bittner, Leipzig, 1886. 

Bryant, A. T., Zulu-English Dictionary, Pietermaritzburg, 1905. 

Burrner, C. G., [a], Zeitschrift fiir A frikanische Sprachen, Berlin, 


rb], Antholopie aus der Suahili-Litteratur, Berlin, 1894. 

Catiaway, Henry (late Bishop of St. John’s), [a], Nursery Tales 
and Traditions of the Zulus, London, 1868. 

[b], Religious System of the Amazulu, London, 1870. 

CAMPBELL, J., Travels in 8. Africa (Second Journey), 2 vols., 
London, 1822. 

Casatis, Eucene, [a], Etudes sur la langue séchuana, Paris, 1841. 

[b], Les Bassoutos, Paris, 1859. 

Cuatevain, H., Folk-Tales of Angola. (Memoirs of the Amer- 
ican Folk-Lore Society), Boston and New York, 1894. 

Co.teEnso, J. W., DD., LL.D., Late Bishop of Natal, Zulu-English 
Dictionary, Pietermaritzburg, 1905. 

CrasTer, Captain J. E. E., R. E., Pemba, the Spice Island of 
Zanzibar, London, 1913. ; 

CronisE, FLorencE M., and Warp, Henry W., Cunnie Rabbit, 
Mr. Spider, and the other Beef. West African Folk-Tales, 
London and New York, 1903. 
DayreEL1, E., [kom Folk Stories from Southern Nigeria, London 
(Royal Anthropological Institute Occasional Papers), 1913. 
DevarFossE, Maurice, Fssai de Manuel de la langue agni, Paris, 1901. 
Dennett, R. E., [a], Notes on the Folk-Lore of the Fjort (French 
Congo). With an Introduction by Mary H. Kingsley, London, 

— |b], At the Back of the Black Man’s Mind, or Notes on the 
Kingly O fice in West A frica, London, 1906. 

[c], Nigerian Studies, or the Religious and Political System of 

the Yoruba, London, 1910. 

Dewar, EMMELINE H., Chinamwanga Stories (Iviri vya Chinam- 
wanga), Livingstonia, 1900. 

Du Cuaiiiu, Paut B., Journey to Ashango-Land, London, 1867. 
EwRENREICH, P., Baessler-Archiv. Beitrige zur Volkskunde (edited 
by Ehrenreich), Leipzig and Berlin. In progress since 1910. 
Exuis, A. B., [a], The Tshi-speaking Peoples of the Gold Coast of 

West Africa, London, 1887. 
—[b], The Ewe-speaking Peoples of the Slave Coast of West 
4 frica, London, 1890. 


[c], The Yoruba-speaking Peoples of the Slave Coast of West 
A frica, London, 1894. 7 

F mie R. S., Hausa Sayings and F olk-Lore, London, 1912 

ForTIER, ALCEE, Louisiana F olk-Tales, Boston, 1895. 

Frazer, Sir J. G., Totemism and Exogamy, 4 vols. London, 1910. 

FULLEBorN, Dr. Friepricu, Das deutsche N jassa und Ruwumage- 
biet, Land und Leute (Deutsch Ost-A frika, Bd. 9), Berlin, 

Gorpon, E. M., Indian F olk-Tales, London, 1909. 

Groome, Francis Hinpgs, Gypsy Folk-Tales, London, 1899. 

Gutmann, Bruno, [a], Dichten und Denken der Dschagganeger, 
Leipzig, 1909. 

[b], Volksbuch der Wadschagga, Leipzig, 1914. 

Hann, THEopHItus, Pu. D., Tsuni-||Goam, the Supreme Being of 
the Khoi-Khoi, London, 1881. 

HALuiwELi-Puiiuirs, J. O., Popular Rhymes and Nursery Tales, 
London, 1849. 

Harris, Jorn Cuanper, [a], Uncle Remus, or Mr. Fox, Mr. 
Rabbit, and Mr. Terrapin, London, n. d. 

[b], Nights with Uncle Remus, London, n. d. 

Hewat, M. L., Bantu Folk-Lore, Medical and General, Cape Town, 

Hostey, C. W., C. M. G., Ethnology of the A-Kamba and other 
East African Tribes, Cambridge, 1910. 

Hoxuts, A. C., [a], The Masai, Their Language and Folk-Lore, Ox- 

ford, 1905. 

[b], The Nandi, Their Language and Folk-Lore, Oxford, 1909. 

IRLE, J., Die Herero: ein Beitrag zur Landes-, Volks-, und Missions- 
kunde, Giitersloh, 1906. 

Jacorrer, Emire, [a], Contes populaires des Bassoutos (vol. xx of 
Collection de contes et chansons populaires), Paris, 1895. 
——[b], Etudes sur les langues du Haut-Zambeéese. I. Grammaire 

Soubiya et Louyi, 1896. II. Textes Soubiya, 1899. III. Textes 
Louyi, 1901. (Publications de Pécole supérieure des lettres dA l- 
ger, tome xvi), Paris. 
[c], The Treasury of Basuto-Lore, vol. i. (no more published), 
London, 1908. 
JEKYLL, WaLTER, Jamaican Song and Story, London, 1907. 
Jounsron, Sir H. H., [a], British Central Africa, London, 1896. 
[b], Liberia, 2 vols. London, 1906. 
[c], George Grenfell and the Congo, 2 vols. London, 1908. 
Junop, H. A., [a], Chants et contes des Baronga, Lausanne, 1897. 


——b], Les Baronga, Neuchdtel, 1898. 

[c], The Life of a South a iricus Tribe, London, 1913. 

Kibaraka, Swahili Stories (revised ed.), Zanzibar, 1896. 

Kipp, Duptey, [a], The Essential Kaffir, London, 1904. 

[b], Sone Childhood, London, 1906. 

[c], The Bull of the Kraal and the Heavenly Maidens, London, 


KincsLey, Mary H., West A frican Studies, London, 1899. 

Krapr, J. L., [a], Reisen in Ost-A frika, ausgefiihrt in der Jahren, 

1837-55. Kornthal and Stuttgart, 1858. 

[b], 4 Dictionary of the Swahili Language, London, 1882. 

KRoENLEIN, J. G., Wortschatz der Khoi-Khoin (Namaqua-H ottentot- 
ten), Berlin, 1889. 

Kropr, A., D. THEot., [a], Das Volk 2 X osa-Kaffern im éstlichen 

Sida pre. Berlin, "1880. 

[b], 4 Kat bnclsh Dictionary, Lovedale Mission Press, 1899. 

LivincstronE, Davin, Missionary Travels and Researches in South 
A frica, London, 1857. 

Lioyp, Miss C. L., [a], 4 Short Account of Further Bushman Mate- 
rial Collected (Third Report concerning Bushman Researches, 
presented to both Houses of Parliament of the Cape of Good 
Hope), London, 1889. 

— |b], Specimens of Bushman Folk-Lore, Collected by the late W. 
H. I. Bleek, Ph. D., and L. C. Lloyd, and edited by the latter. 
With introduction by George McCall Theal, D. Litt., London, 

Macpona_p, Rev. Durr, 4 fricana, or the Heart of Heathen 4 frica, 
2 vols., London, 1882. 

Manan, A. C., Lala-Lamba Handbook, Oxford, 1908. 

MansFELD, Dr. ALFRED, Urwald- Dokuntens: Lier Jahre unter den 
C' rossfusshegern Kameruns, Berlin, 1908. 

Manuel de langue Luganda, par ee C. D. des Péres Blancs, Ein- 
siedeln, 1894. (Cited as Manuel.) 

Meruor, C., [a], Lehrbuch der Namasprache, Berlin, 1909. (Band 
xxiii of Lehrbiicher des Seminars fiir orientalische Sprachen). 

—[b], Die Dichtung der Afrikaner, Berlin, 1911. 

[c], Afrikanische Religion, Berlin, 1912. 

MELLAND, Frank H., and CHoLMELEY, Epwarp H., Through the 
Heart of Africa, London, 1912. 

Merensky, A., Deutsche Arbeit am Nyassa, Deutsch-Ostafrika. Ber- 
lin, 1894. 

Merker, M., Die Masai: Ethnographische Monographie eines osta~ 
frikanischen Semitenvolkes, Berlin, 1910. 


METELERKAMP, S., Outa Karel’s Stories, London, 1914. 

Mitne-Home, Mary PaMeta, Mamma’s Black Nurse Stories, Edin- 
burgh and London, 1890. 

MorratT, Ropert, Missionary Labours and Scenes in Southern A frica, 
London, 1842. 

MontTEIL, C., Contes soudanais (with preface by René Basset), Paris, 

Mou tras, A., Les fourberies de Si Djeh’a: contes kabyles . . . avec 
une étude sur Si Djeh’a et les anecdotes qui lui sont attribués, 
par M. René Basset, 2 vols. Paris, 1892. 

Nassau, R. H., M. D., [a], Fetichism in West Africa, London, 1904. 

[b], Where Animals Talk: West African Folk-Tales, Boston, 


[c], The Elephant Corral and other Tales of West African Ex- 
perience, New York, 1912. 

PEarcE, NATHANIEL, Life and Adventures . . . during a Residence 
in Abyssinia from the Years 1810 to 1819. Ed. by J. J. Halls, 
2 vols. London, 1831. 

Ratrray, R. SUTHERLAND, [a], Some Folk-Lore Stories and Songs 
in Chinyanja, with English Translation and Notes, London, 

——|[b], Hausa Folk-Lore, Customs, Proverbs, etc. With preface by 

R. R. Marett, 2 vols., Oxford, 1913. 

[c], Ashanti Proverbs, Oxford, 1913. 

Raum, J., Versuch einer Grammatik der Dschaggasprache, Berlin, 

Reuse, Hermann, Kiziba, Land und Leute, Stuttgart, 1910. 

Roscok, Rev. JoHN, [a], The Baganda, London, 1911. 

[b], The Northern Bantu, Cambridge, 1915. 

RosEN, Eric von, Trdaskfolket:Svenska Rhodesia-K ongo-E xpeditio- 
nens Etnografiska Forskningsresultat, Stockholm, n. d. [19172 ]. 

RouTLepbcE, W. S., and K., With a Prehistoric People: The Akikuyu 
of British East Africa, London, 1910. 

ScHon, J. F., Magana Hausa, London, 1885. (The reissue of 1906 
omits the English translation. ) 

SCHLENKER, C. F., 4 Collection of Temne Traditions, Fables, and 
Proverbs, with an English translation, London, 1861. 

SCHULTZE, LEoNHaARD SicmunND, Aus Namaland und Kalahari, Jena, 

Scott, D. C., A Cyclopedic Dictionary of the Mang’anja Language 
spoken in British Central A frica, Edinburgh, 1892. 

SEIDEL, A. [a], Zeitschrift fiir afrikanische und ozeanische Sprachen, 
Berlin, 1895-1903. 


—[b], Geschichten und Lieder der Afrikaner, Berlin, 1896. 

SmiTH, PAMELA CoLMAN, Annancy Stories, New York, 1899. 

SPIETH, JAKOB, Die Ewestimme, Material zur Kunde des Ewe-Volkes 
in Deutsch-Togo, Berlin, 1906. 

STANLEY, H. M., Through the Dark Continent,’ London, 1889. 

Stow, G. W., The Native Races of South Africa, London, 1905., Mrs. D. Amaury, Women’s Mysteries of a Primitive 
People, London, 1915. 

Tasot, P. Amaury, In the Shadow of the Bush, London, 1912. 

Tay.or, Rev. W. E., [a], 4 frican Aphorisms, or Saws from Swahili- 
land, London, 1891. 

[b], Giryama Vocabulary and Collections, London, 1891. 

TuHEAL, GeorceE McCatt, [a], Kaffir Folk-Lore, London, 1882 
(2d ed., 1886). 

——[b], The Yellow and Dark-Skinned Peoples of Africa South of 
the Zambesi, London, 1910. 

THomann, GeorGEs, Essai de Manuel de la langue néoulé, Paris, 

THomas, NortHcoTe W., Anthropological Report on Sierra Leone, 
Part I1I., Timne Grammar and Stories, London, 1916. 

Tonyes, HERMANN, Ovamboland: Land, Leute, Mission, Berlin, 

Torpay, E., Camp and Tram» in African Wilds, London, 1913. 

Torpay, E., and Joyce, T. A., Les Bushongo, Brussels, 1910. 

TorrEND, JuLtus, S. J., 4 Comparative Grammar of the South A fri- 
can Bantu Languages, London, 1891. (Contains in appendix, 
pp. 283-321, some interesting Tonga and Xosa texts — the latter 
consisting of four tales. ) 

TREMEARNE, A. J. N., Hausa Superstitions and Customs, London, 

TREMEARNE, A. J. N., and Mary, Fables and Fairy Tales for Little 
Folk, or Uncle Remus in Hausaland, Cambridge and London, 

Tytor, Sir E. B., Primitive Culture,* London, 1903. 

VAN DER Burct, R. P., J. J. M. (of the “ White Fathers”), Dic- 
tionaire francais— kirundi ... augmenté dune introduction 
et de 196 articles ethnographiques sur PUrundi et les Warundi, 
Bois-le-Duc, 1903. . 

VELTEN, C., [a], Swahili Marchen (vol. xviii of Lehrbiicher des 
Seminars fiir Orient. Sprachen zu Berlin), Berlin, 1898. 

——([b], Prosa und Poesie der Swahili, Berlin, 1897. 

[c], Safari za Waswahili, Gottingen, 1901. 

Weeks, Rev. J. H., Congo Life and Folk-Lore, London, 1911. 


Werner, Miss Auice, The Native Races of British Central Africa, 
London, 1906. 

Werner, J. R., 4 Visit to Stanley’s Rearguard, Edinburgh and 
London, 1889. 

Wotrr, R., Grammatik der Kinga-Sprache, Berlin, 1905. (Archiv 
fiir das Studium deutscher Kolonialsprachen, vol. ii.) 

ZIMMERMANN, Rev. J., 4 Grammatical Sketch of the Akra or Ga 
Language, 2 vols. Stuttgart, 1858. 


BassET, R., “‘ Berbers and N. Africa,” ii. 506—9. 

Carver, W. O., “ Negroes (United States),” ix. 312-18. 

Craw _ey, A. E., “ Hearth and Hearth Gods,” vi. 559-62. 

“* Human Sacrifice,” vi. 840-5. 

CrookeE, W., “ Ancestor Worship and Cult of the Dead,” i. 425-32. 

Dornav, &. S., “ Tati Bushmen,” xii, 205-8. 

FauuaizE, E. N., “ Pastoral Peoples,” ix. 661-7. 

“Prayer (Introductory and Primitive),” x. 154-8. 

GranpipigR, G., “ Madagascar,” viii. 230-2. 

Gray, L. H., “ Calendar (African),” iii. 64—5. 

“Circumcision (Introductory),” iii. 659-70. 

“ Demons and Spirits (African and Oceanic),” iv. 565-8. 

Happon, A. C., “ Negrillos and Negritos,” ix. 271-4. 

HartTvanp, E. S., “ Bantu and S. Africa,” ii. 350-67. 

“Death and Disposal of the Dead,” iv. 411-44. 

“ Hottentots,” vi. 820-3. 

HETHERWICK, A., “ Nyanjas,” ix. 419-22. 

Jounston, H. H., “ Masai,” viii. 480-3. 

Keane, A. H., “ Africa,” i. 160-5. 

“ Ethnology,” v. 522-32. 

Lanptmann, G., “ Priest, Priesthood (Primitive), x. 278-84. 

Lirrmany, E., “ Abyssinia,” i. 55-9. 

MacCu toc, J. A., “ Agaos,” i. 165-6. 

“ Baptism (Ethnic),” ii. 367-75. 

——* Cannibalism,” iii. 194-2009. 

“ Lycanthropy,” viii. 206-20. 

MacRrrcur, D., “ Dwarfs and Pigmies,” v. 122-6. 

aca iba D. S., “ Muhammadanism (in Central Africa),” viii. 


“ Muhammadanism (in N. Africa),” viii. 880-3., A. F., “ Negroes and West Africa,” ix. 

Owen, M. A., “ Voodoo,” xii. 640-1. 

Rossini, C. C., “ Hamites and E. Africa,” vi. 486-92. 

SELIGMANN, C. G., “ Dinka,” iv. 204-13. 

Tuomas, N. W., “Secret Societies (African),” xi. 287-303. 

WERNER, Miss A., “‘ Nama,” ix. 127-9. 

“ Nyika,” ix. 424-7. 

——* Pokomo,” x. 88-91. 

——“ Zanzibar and the Swahili People,” xii. 846-9. 


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